Human Resources

University Policy on Probation (General Staff)

Policy No.
Human Resources
Authoring Organisational Unit
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor [105000]
Date Approved
26/06/2007 Revised 27/06/2014
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor And Registrar

The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Probation (Professional and General Staff)

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy defines the purpose of a probationary period for newly appointed fixed term and ongoing staff. The expectations and responsibilities of both the supervisor and the employee are included and sets out the requirement to undertake a Commencing Performance Development Review and Performance Development and Appraisal during the probationary period.

The provisions of this policy do not apply to casual employees.


"CPDR" means a Commencing Performance Development Review.

"Employee" means a person employed by the University who has an ongoing or fixed term contract under the terms of the Professional and General Staff Agreement (as amended from time to time).

"PDA" means a Performance Development and Appraisal.

"Misconduct" means wilful conduct by a staff member, which is unsatisfactory.

"Serious Misconduct" is misconduct of a serious and wilful nature that would make it unreasonable to require the University to continue employment of the employee involved.

"Supervisor" means the person who is responsible for day-to-day supervision of the staff member and including manager/head of an area.

"Unsatisfactory Work Performance" means inefficiency or negligence in the performance of the employee's duties or unacceptable workplace behaviour.

"University" means The University of Western Australia.

Policy statement:

1 Purpose of a Probationary Period

1.1 The probationary period gives the University and the employee time to establish whether there is an appropriate match of skills and behaviour to the requirements of the job and the work environment.

1.2 There will be only one probationary period with the University upon commencement. A subsequent probationary period cannot be requested if there is no break in service as the University remains the employer.

2 Length of Probationary Period

2.1 A probationary period of up to six months applies to all new employees with ongoing appointments and fixed-term appointments of 12 months or more. Guidelines on probation are issued to these new employees by Human Resources.

2.2 It is recommended that consideration be given to applying a probationary period to fixed term appointments of less than 12 months. A probationary period of up to half the term of the appointment is recommended, e.g. a six month fixed term appointment would have a three month probationary period. No Performance Development and Appraisal (PDA) is required for contracts less than twelve months, unless the contract is to be extended beyond the initial 12 month period.

3 Responsibilities of the Supervisor

3.1 The supervisor provides regular feedback, coaching and counselling to the employee during the probationary period (refer also to Development and Appraisal Process).

3.2 The supervisor will conduct a CPDR with an employee to ensure they know and understand the standard of work expected of them. The supervisor should ensure that the employee is informed of the duties required and any performance measures and standards appropriate to their position. The CPDR is to be completed as soon as practicable and must be completed within two months of commencement.

4 Assessment

4.1 At Two Months - Initial assessment of a new employee's work performance should be discussed with them two months after commencement.

4.2 At Four Months - A PDA will be conducted by the fourth month. Any performance issues identified will require an improvement plan as part of the PDA. When the overall assessment during the PDA assessment confirms the employee generally meets the University's high expectations, a performance plan is to be submitted with the PDA outlining improvement in any identified area.

4.3 At Five Months - Where areas for improvement were identified as part of the PDA, at the fifth month, the supervisor must consider if improvement has been achieved before meeting with the employee.

4.4 At the end of the fifth month the employee should be in no doubt as to whether there will be a recommendation to:

  • extend the period of probation for a further period of up to six months; or
  • confirm the appointment; or
  • annul the appointment.

4.5 Employee Relations and Management Services (ERMS) staff are available to assist supervisors to work with employees to develop measures and standards.

5 Unsatisfactory Work Performance and Misconduct

5.1 If, after conducting the PDA, the supervisor considers that elements of the employee's work performance are unsatisfactory or in cases where misconduct is alleged, ERMS should be informed as soon as possible.

5.2 In cases where performance problems are identified the following procedure is to be followed:

  • details of deficiencies in performance are to be brought to the employee's attention and should be confirmed in writing. The employee must be provided with a copy of any documentation.
  • Expected goals/standards or expectations must be established by the supervisor for the employee. Specific completion dates must be agreed, where appropriate, for particular tasks.
  • The employee must have an opportunity to remedy the work deficiencies and be provided with coaching and counselling by the supervisor where appropriate. (See Managing Unsatisfactory Performance and Workplace Behaviour)

5.3 In cases where misconduct or serious misconduct is alleged, supervisors are required to discuss the matter with ERMS staff.

6 Annulment of Appointment/Extension of Probation

6.1 On receipt of a report from the Head or equivalent indicating that the processes outlined above have been completed, the Director, Human Resources has the authority to extend probation or annul the appointment.

Related forms:

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

HR Services - Recruitment

Related Policies or legislation:

Classification of General Staff Positions

Managing Unsatisfactory Performance and Workplace Behaviour

Managing Misconduct

Professional Development Review Process

Performance Appraisal Report