Recently, the Australian Federal Government made changes to the industrial relations legislation which means that as of July 1st 2009 the Fair Work Act 2009 will replace the Workplace Relations Act 1996
How does this impact you in HR?
Under the Workplace Relations Act 1996 companies were able to set a probation period of six months or more if it was reasonable having regard to the nature and circumstances of the position. This will not be available under the Fair Work Act 2009.
Probation periods have been removed from the new Act and instead a ‘qualifying period’ of six months has been set for larger organisations (greater than 15 employees). Under the new legislation, employees will only be required to complete a six month qualifying period with a new employer during which time employees are excluded from bringing unfair dismissal proceedings against former employers.
If organisations continue with current policies which outline a probation period of longer than six months, and the manager decides to terminate the person after six months there will no longer be a protection from unfair dismissal proceedings being brought against the organisation.
Hence, you might want to review your current probation policy and update it!