2.1.15 Trial Period

Approved by the Vice President for Human Resources.
Last Updated

Formerly Known As Policy Number: 22.14

Applicability: Applies to all regular employees as defined in Guide Memo 2.2.1 (https://adminguide.stanford.edu/chapters/human-resources/general-employment-policies/definitions): Definitions, except Senior Staff who should refer to Guide Memo 2.1.14: Senior Staff (https://adminguide.stanford.edu/chapters/human-resources/staff-employment-policies/senior-staff). For policies that apply to employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, refer to the agreements found at Labor Relations & Collective Bargaining (https://cardinalatwork.stanford.edu/hr-processes-policies/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.

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 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 (https://adminguide.stanford.edu/chapters/human-resources/staff-employment-policies/recruiting-and-hiring-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.

e. Layoff Trial Period

An employee will serve a layoff trial period for the initial six months in a new position when:

  • Hired into another position within one year following the effective date of permanent layoff, or
  • Hired into another position following formal notification of permanent layoff and prior to the layoff effective date.

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 (https://adminguide.stanford.edu/chapters/human-resources/staff-employment-policies/addressing-conduct-and-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 their 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.

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 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.

Source URL: https://adminguide.stanford.edu/chapters/human-resources/staff-employment-policies/trial-period