The topic of the probationary period in employment law always sparks intriguing discussions and debates. It’s a frequent subject of discourse even within our law firm, which closely engages with and offers legal advice related to employment law. Often, as legal advisors, we’re sought after for assistance in the legal dilemma: is having a probationary period beneficial when initiating an employment relationship?
The probationary period, as a legal concept in employment law, pertains to the commencement of an employment relationship. It’s commonly referred to as an orientation or training phase before a new employee attains permanent status. Its primary purpose is to assess whether the new employee aligns well with the company’s culture and operational procedures. Naturally, mutual agreement between both parties is essential for the trial period to be established and legally binding.
According to the Macedonian Law on Labor Relations, the probationary period is limited to a maximum of 4 months from the initiation of the labor relationship. However, this law distinguishes a specific subset of workers—seasonal workers—for whom the trial period is limited to only 3 working days.
Interestingly, the legislator, in the context of probationary work as defined by Macedonian employment law, addresses two significant legal aspects:
Introducing probationary periods for new employees can lead to substantial improvements in work processes. By providing a dedicated period for assessment, employers can gain valuable insights into the performance of newly hired staff, a pivotal resource undoubtedly;
The implementation of probationary periods offers a potential avenue for employers to curtail expenses related to workforce management. In instances where inadequate performance or unsatisfactory results are observed during this trial phase, employers can avoid the expenditure associated with continued employment, marking a significant aspect of this two-way employment relationship;
The probationary period provides an opportunity for employers to solicit candid feedback from fresh team members. By identifying subpar results, employers can make informed decisions on whether to extend the employment relationship post the probationary term, as stipulated in the Employment Agreement;
The introduction of probationary periods brings forth the advantage of providing newcomers with a crystal-clear understanding of their responsibilities and expected performance standards right from the commencement of their tenure. This proactive approach ensures that employees are well informed about the working process and conditions during this phase, enabling them to visualize and align their own expectations accordingly;
Agreements concerning probationary periods should delineate the objectives and aims of training and orientation. This serves to streamline the process of discontinuation, as it obviates the necessity for elaborate procedures to justify the cessation of employment. This is especially significant given the complexity of our employment law landscape.
Introducing probationary periods may inadvertently raise the performance expectations of employees. This could result in heightened pressure for employees to outperform themselves to secure a permanent role, stemming from the inherent legal framework surrounding this practice.
Probationary periods may deter certain potential candidates from considering positions with employers that employ this practice. This apprehension could lead to a reluctance to apply to such companies.
In summation, the concept of a probationary period serves as a pivotal phase within employment dynamics, affording employers and employees the opportunity to gauge compatibility and effectiveness.
However, the integration of this practice necessitates meticulous attention to legal protocols, guaranteeing equity and adherence to employment standards. Employers stand to benefit from the insight gained before committing to permanent positions, thereby optimizing time, financial resources, and reducing the risk of onboarding underperforming staff.
Ana Tosic Chubrinovski – Managing Partner