Poor Work Performance during Probation:

1. a) An employer may require a newly-hired employee to serve a period of
probation before the appointment of the employee is confirmed.

b) The purpose of probation is to give the employer an opportunity to evaluate the employee’s performance before confirming the appointment.

c) Probation should not be used to deprive employees of the status of permanent employment.

d) The period of probation should be determined in advance and be of reasonable duration. The length of the probationary period should be determined with reference to the nature of the job and the time it takes to determine the employee’s suitability for continued employment.

e) During the probationary period, the employee’s performance should be assessed. An employer should give an employee reasonable evaluation, instruction, training, guidance or counseling in order to allow the employee to render a satisfactory service.

f) If the employer determines that the employee’s performance is below standard, the employer should advise the employee of any aspects in which the employee considers the employee to be failing to meet the required performance standards. If the employer believes that the employee is incompetent, the employer should advise the employee of the respects in which the employee is not competent. The employer may either extend the probationary period or dismiss the employee after complying with sub-items (g) or (h), as the case may be.

g) The period of probation may only be extended for a reason that relates to the purpose of probation. The period of extension should not be disproportionate to the legitimate purpose that the employer seeks to achieve.

h) An employer may only decide to dismiss an employee or extend the probationary period after the employer has invited the employee to make representations and has considered any representations made. A trade union representative or fellow employee may make the representations on behalf of the employee.

i) If the employee decides to dismiss the employee or to extend the probationary period, the employer should advise the employee of his or her rights to refer the matter to the CCMA

j) Any person making a decision about the fairness of a dismissal of an employee for poor work performance during or on expiry of the probationary period ought to accept reasons for dismissal that may be less compelling than would be the case in dismissals effected after the completion of the probationary period.

poor work performance


2. After probation, an employee should not be dismissed for unsatisfactory
performance unless the employer has;

a) Given the employee appropriate evaluation, instruction, training, guidance or counselling; and
b) After a reasonable period of time for improvement, the employee continues to perform unsatisfactorily.

3. The procedure leading to dismissal should include an investigation and to
establish the reasons for the unsatisfactory performance and the employer
should consider other ways, short of dismissal, to remedy the matter.

4. In the process, the employee should have the right to be heard and to be
assisted by a trade union representative or a fellow employee.

For further information on any labour related matters, you can contact
Bernard Reisner:

W. Tel: 021 423 3959
Fax: 021 423 2105
Cell: 082 433 3959
Email: bernard@capelabour.co.za