Key Changes to Probationary Periods in Ireland

Probationary Periods

Key Changes to Probationary Periods in Ireland

The European Union (Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions) Regulations 2022 became law on 16 December 2022, which includes some significant obligations on employers that require their immediate attention. The changes in relation to probationary periods are outlined below:

The New Regulations provide that in the private sector the probationary periods of employees should not exceed 6 months, and for public servants cannot exceed 12 months. However, the probation period can be longer on an exceptional basis, where it would be in the interest of the employee, but no longer than 12 months.

If an employee who commenced employment prior to 16 December 2022 is subject to probation of longer than 6 months and the employee has completed at least 6 months of the probationary period, then it will expire by 1 February 2023, or the date on which the probationary period was due to expire (if earlier).

Suspension Of Probationary Period:

If an employee avails of certain categories of protected leave during the probationary period (for example:  maternity, adoptive, carer’s, paternity, parental, parent’s or sick leave), then the probationary period shall be extended by the employer for the duration of the employee’s absence.

Impact On Fixed-Term Contracts:

The regulations specify that the length of any probationary period must be proportionate to the expected duration of the contract and the nature of the work. A new probationary period cannot be imposed in any renewal of a fixed term contract.

Longer Than Permitted Probation Clause:

If a longer than permitted probationary clause is enforced by an employee, without an exceptional basis in the interests of the employee, the employer is at risk of claim under the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994. If successful the Workplace Relations Commission may award the employee compensation of up to four weeks’ remuneration.

Get in Touch:

Employers should review the use of probationary periods and ensure that there are controls in place to assess performance during the six-month probationary period. If you have any questions on the above, please book a no obligation call today.