The probationary or trial period is a minimum employment period during which an employee is not fully covered by employment protection legislation. Convention No. 158 provides that “workers serving a period of probation or a qualifying period of employment, determined in advance and of reasonable duration” may be excluded from all or some of the provisions of the Convention (Art.2(2)(b)). Statutory provisions differ in the exemptions that are permitted, including whether:
(1) protection against unfair dismissal does not apply;
(2) different valid grounds for dismissal, as compared to the general regime are applied;
(3) different notification or severance pay rules; or
(4) various combinations of these cases.
The existence of such exemptions may lead countries to place limits on the duration of the probationary or trial period.
Fixed-term contracts may sometimes be used for the purpose of probation. Thus, for a more complete understanding of the issue, the regulation of probationary periods should be examined jointly with the regulation of fixed-term contracts.