I'm a UK employee with a probation period of 6 months. My employer extended it by 3 months (which they are legally entitled to do).

My problem is is that they are giving me mixed messages. On one hand they say they really like my work (I recently helped them win a multi-million pound contract), but they extended my probation period without warning. When I asked about my probation period being extended, they pointed to a very trivial reason. They said that my work occasionally had some numerical errors, but they could only find one example of that.

So, my question is: should I be concerned about my job security?

Thanks in advance for your help - I'm looking forwards to hearing your opinions.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Vietnhi Phuvan, gnat, Joe Strazzere, Telastyn, Jan Doggen Oct 30 '14 at 18:49

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  • What was the "trivial" reason? Perhaps there's a difference of opinion over what is trivial and what isn't... – corsiKa Oct 30 '14 at 19:19
  • @corsiKa The question does say "They said that my work occasionally had some numerical errors, but they could only find one example of that.". – a CVn Oct 31 '14 at 12:46

I would be concerned. The genuine reason to have a probation period (at least here in the States, don't know about the legalities in the UK) is to make it easier to get rid of you after hiring if it doesn't work. You've been there for 6 months. Obviously they know your attitude, demeanor, quality of work, etc. I can think of no legitimate reason to keep you on probation unless they're considering seriously getting rid of you, but not yet.

Do you have any projects that'll be finished in the next 3 months that they may need completed but don't have a need for you after completion? That seems like a possible scenario.

If it were me, I'd be looking for new work. Employers don't keep people laboring (or labouring :) ) under the indignity of probation for people they value and respect. I know that may be a tough thing to hear but if they valued you and were planning on keeping you, they wouldn't keep dragging this out.

(there's also a possibility that they're sadistically using the pressure that probation creates in order to try to squeeze more production out of you)

  • i cannot agree more vigorously. look for more work, it sounds like you've done enough to find new work. why work in a company with that kind of attitude to workers? – bharal Oct 30 '14 at 18:27
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    I have to agree. Here in the US were known for having pretty lousy protections for our employees when compared to most European nations. The UK specifically tends to make us look bad here... In the US probation is almost always "90 working days" (just over 3 months) I've heard of places with shorter probationary periods, or even not actually formally having one... but extending it... every reason they might do this is against your best interests. Effectively this says "We are debating firing you" at best. – RualStorge Oct 30 '14 at 18:42
  • @RualStorge: Even at 90 days, the probation period in the US is usually an unnecessary byproduct as most states are Right To Work. Meaning, you can be fired at any time for any reason as long as it isn't against EEOC laws or company policy. – NotMe Oct 30 '14 at 19:13
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    Thanks for your advice everyone. I will be applying for new jobs unless I am confirmed in post. That way I will have a back-up plan at least. – WorkerWithoutACause Oct 31 '14 at 9:36
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    Just an FYI - I was confirmed in this post yesterday & they said they were really happy with my performance – WorkerWithoutACause Nov 26 '14 at 12:56

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