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2.1.15 Trial Period

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Last updated on:
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 

Approved by the Vice President for Human Resources.


Applies to all regular employees as defined in Guide Memo 2.2.1: Definitions. For policies that apply to employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, refer to the agreements found at Labor Relations & Collective Bargaining

1. Definition and Purpose

The trial period is an initial period of service during which the department assesses the performance of a newly hired regular employee to determine if the employee meets the requirements and expectations of the position.

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2. Policies

a. Length of Trial Period
The trial period is an employee's first 12 months of service as a regular employee with the university, including service as a trainee.

The trial period is automatically extended for the duration of any approved leave of absence. No other extensions of the trial period are permitted.

b. Salary Increases and Bonuses During Trial Period
Trial period employees are not eligible for a salary increase based on merit.  However, trial period employees may receive equity or retention adjustments, and spot or team bonuses, at any time during their trial period.

c. Additional Trial Periods
An employee who has completed a trial period does not serve an additional trial period when transferred, promoted, or assigned to different duties within the university. However, employees who have been rehired must serve a new trial period, including those employees whose original hire date is reinstated pursuant to Administrative Guide Memo 2.1.2: Recruiting & Hiring of Regular Staff.

d. Completion of Trial Period
The department should notify the employee by the last day of the trial period that the trial period has been completed or extended due to an approved leave of absence. When such notice is not given, the trial period is considered to have been completed. In extenuating circumstances, the Human Resources Manager may determine that the trial period is not completed if timely notice could not be given.

e. Layoff Trial Period
An employee will serve a layoff trial period for the initial six months in the new position when:

  • Hired into another position following permanent layoff, or
  • Given formal notification of permanent layoff, or
  • Given notice that layoff will result if the employee does not obtain alternative employment in the same department or administrative unit.

If the employee does not complete the layoff trial period successfully, then the employee may revert to layoff status and receive any benefits that may accrue to that status. Reversion to layoff during the layoff trial period may be invoked either by the employee or by the department.

An employee may serve only one layoff trial period following any one layoff, and may invoke the option to revert to layoff status only once. If hired into a second job (either a subsequent or a simultaneous job), the employee does not serve a layoff trial period. Extension of layoff trial period or completion of layoff trial period is handled as described for the trial period.

f. Termination During Trial Period or Layoff Trial Period
The provisions of Guide Memo 2.1.16: Addressing Conduct & Performance Issues do not apply. During the trial period, the employment relationship between the employee and the university is "at-will." This means that employment can be terminated by either the employee or the university at any time and for any reason, or no reason, with or without notice.

The Vice President for Human Resources or his/her designee must approve such terminations.

If an employee who is terminated during their trial period has concerns and/or feedback regarding their employment, they may contact the local Human Resources Office or University Human Resources/Employee & Labor Relations.

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3. Guide to Supervisors

Planning the Trial Period
Supervisors are expected to establish and communicate performance expectations and try to resolve problems during the trial period. Supervisors should consult with their local Human Resources Office about extending a trial period due to an approved leave of absence, or any problems that could lead to a termination of the employee during or at the end of the trial period.

Please contact your local Human Resources Office for any questions related to the trial period.

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