All About Probation Period in Singapore You Must Know

All About Probation Period in Singapore - Probation period is a set period of time where a probationary employee is hired on a trial basis. These employees perform their job during this specific period and through this period as well, their performance will be observed by the employers to determine whether that probationary employee is the employee they’re looking for and finally hire them as a contracted or permanent employee.

Typically, the probation period lasts between three and six months. However, it depends on the employment contract. There are many cases where the probation period is less than six months and more than six months. The period can also be one year long. Since it can be different for everyone, check the employment contract first because that is the valid source.

If you need to learn more about the probation period in Singapore, read this article until the end.

The definition of probation period has already been explained briefly above. However, the probation period is a trial period for newly recruited employees that usually lasts for three months, six months, or one year depending on the employment contract. During the probation period, your performance will be assessed by the employers to see if you fit the position and eventually can be hired as the actual employee that also deserves all the benefits.

It means that the probation period is organized by the employers and undertaken at the start of a new employment agreement. As the organizer, the employers have the right to determine the length of time to undergo probationary period. It can start from three month to a year or more.

Regarding what will happen next, there are several possibilities. First, you’ll get hired as an employee on a permanent basis. Second, you didn’t get the job. Third, you’ll need to extend the probation period. Ideally, your employer will issue you a written confirmation. But if you haven’t received a confirmation at the end of your probation period, you should check with your employer or the human resource department in your workplace.

In Singapore, the probation period usually take three to six months in length. But it also depends on your employment contract. It’s also possible that some contracts will state that the probation period is a continuing one. Making your probation period longer than six months. Or else, they terminate the employment and you’ll get probation period shorter than three months.

According to Charter House, there are three things that can be discovered after three months of probation. These three discoveries make employers need to consider if three months of probation period is enough.

  • Due to limited time, employees can hardly give the performance that meets the expectation of the employers. However, if you have a better idea and are able to think out of the box to impress the employers, do it.
  • Three months is too short to prove time and project management skills, still you need to show better timekeeping or attendance.
  • It also means less time to adapt to the environment that can result in delivering poor fit for the organizational culture

If you are one of those people taking probation period seriously, you might wish there will be no extension or even worse, being cut off. Regarding the decision to give the employees probation extension, the employers have their own mindset.

There are several reasons probation extension is provided by the employers. Foremost, to give employees a second chance to prove their potential. However, it’s not always that simple. Different jobs can require different amounts of time. One takes a longer time to finish than the other and so on. In this case, such a reason is reasonable because it also means the employers need longer time to decide if you fit for the position.

By giving probation extension, the employee also has the chance to not make the same mistakes again. The employers however need to communicate the mistakes to the employees effectively in order they can grow better from mistakes. Talk to the employees why you extended the period and what improvement you hope to see.

As an employee, your rights are protected by The Employment Act of Singapore. Unfortunately, The Employment Act of Singapore does not have any clauses that specifies the probation period for employees. Thus you can rely on an employment contract as this is your legal paper and you can always negotiate about what to put in the contract with the employers. Talk to them about the probation period to make it clear effectively compared to figuring out yourself because each company is different.

It is also possible to apply for resignation during the probation period by giving notice to your employer as per the contractual terms. However, there are minimum requirements you need to fulfill before it is okay to resign. You need to serve the required notice period stated in your employment contract. You need to also compensate the other party with salary in lieu of you serving out the notice period. Finally, mutual agreement between you and your employer.

If your employer is the one to terminate the contract, they will have to pay salary in lieu of notice. It is compensation paid to an employee when their employment has been terminated and the employer has decided to provide pay instead of having the employee work during the notice period.

Since the period of probation tends to be shorter than usual employment, you need to send the notice to your employer maximum a week before your last date of employment. As the probation period usually last three to six months, you need to make sure that your resignation letter is clear a week before your last date of employment.

This situation leads you to your next potential, will you get paid during the probation period? The short answer is yes. Actually you also need to state your probation period salary in your employment contract.

Other than salary, it is possible to get annual and sick leave if you are covered by the Employment Act and have worked in the company for at least three months. For a pregnant woman, other benefits are maternity protection and maternity leave only if she has worked in that company for at least three months.

Just like any other worker, probationary employees work 8 hours in a day or 44 hours per week. If your employer makes you work overtime, you are entitled for overtime pay at the rate of at least 1.5 times your basic hourly rate. Due to the short period, your overtime hours within a month should not be more than 72 hours or 12 hours in a day.

Medical claims or benefits are also one of the benefits that you deserve as a probationary employee. This cost should be covered by your employers. It includes the medical costs which include medication and treatment or ward charges shall be covered by the employers. The employers really have to pay attention to this or you can ask them about the availability during the interview.

If your last day as probationary employee is approaching but the employer hasn’t sent you notice period for your probation yet, your notice period will likely be the same during your probation and after your confirmation as the permanent employee. Your employers actually should send you notice period.

Probation period system is widely used in Singapore because it can give many benefits that have proved how important the probation period is in managing new hires better. There needs consideration and strategy in planning the recruitment and probation in order to get the expected result. The right strategy will achieve the purpose of probation that is to assess and bring an effective employee on board.

There are several things that probationary employees need to understand about probation period such as:

  • The probation period and what is expected from them. For example, if the probation period is three months, then use that three months to perform your skills to maximum. By maximizing it, fulfill the employer’s expectation.
  • The employers need to support the employees to fit their skills into their roles and established workflow. There’s a case where a candidate has the top level skills but since it’s not what the company is looking for, the employer is most likely going to ignore that candidate and focus on the candidate who’s fit better for the position. It is important to remember that employers not only assess the employees’ job but also support and help them to fit their skills to the roles that they’re needed.
  • Employers also need to provide guidance and regular reviews during this period because it will help the employees a lot in knowing what part they should enhance, better, fix, and etc. Without giving reviews, the employee wouldn’t know if they’re doing alright or already too far from the purpose.

Probation period is supposed to be an extended interview that means it is important to provide the employee with a final decision and give them an explanation why this employee is fit or unfit for the position. By explaining the reasons to employees, it gives them clarity on what part they should fix, boost, manage, etc. And they can use that information as feedback that they can use for the next job search.

Read More: Can I Resign During the Probation Period in Singapore

The importance of probation period is supported with a survey reported by Opinion Matters in 2014 where 18% of new employees fail probation. Without a probationary period, it means that a fifth of your workforce could be worthless. Not just the probationary period, but also the right strategy in the hiring process.

If it’s still not convincing enough how important the probation period is, here is an explanation on benefits and downsides of probation period. So you can use this as a guide.

1. Benefits of probationary periods

a. Cost-effective

If the new employee decides to leave because does not meet the probation conditions, companies will save money in comparison to hiring straight into a full-time agreement with no probation period. The reason is because straight full-time employees will instantly receive all the benefits just like other permanent employees. While probationary employees only receive probably half of them.

The issue is that when an employee works in a new company, the process of adapting is not always easy. In the company's perspective, the worst case is if the new employee decides to resign early as soon as they realize the job is not suitable for them. It leads to the one and only conclusion that a probation period is the right strategy to hire people and cost-effective.

b. Time effective

Through the probation period, time will prove if the new employee actually is the right person for the role or not. The employers can assess the new employee directly day by day that eventually leads to the final decision if that new employee is the right one.

Similar reason as the previous point, probation period gives time for the new employee to show their skills. By the time they reach the last notice period, the employers tend to be less guilty in letting go if the new employee eventually is not the one they are looking for.

c. Employees have better chance to get noticed

In bigger companies, this is the chance for the new employee to highlight their skills that can open up a better opportunity within the company at the end of the probation period.

2. Downsides of probationary periods

a. Employees can feel undervalued during probation period

There's a chance of the employers being a little sneaky by giving the probationary employee the same tasks as the permanent employees which is sometimes not quite right. It’s like how both can receive different benefits but have to perform the same workloads. It’s not fair. As a result, the probationary employee feel undervalued because of this strategy.

If there’s any solution, it’s the employer’s responsibility to give the proper task and do it in accordance with the loads.

b. Possibility of legal risk if not conducted effectively

Clear and coherent contract policies in employment that incorporate all expectations related to a set probationary period is imperative. The reason is because in this era, the job candidates can be from anywhere that nobody expected, such as foreigners.

In this digital era, sometimes certain jobs attract foreigners that cause the employers to be in shock because they are panicking about not knowing what to do. However, clear and coherent contract policies can save the situation.

Finally, the probation period in Singapore is important for both the employers and employees because this strategy can make both meet each other’s needs effectively. There needs adjustment here and there according to the situation and the goals that wish to be achieved. That eventually, applying probation period in Singapore give more benefits for the workforce compared to not using it.

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