WHAT IS A TRIAL PERIOD?
Trial period = a limited period of time after the start of employment in which the employer and the employee can give valid notice without a ground.
Usually, the employer uses a trial period clause to get to know the employee properly, and to make sure the employee is not (severely) underperforming. In that sense, it serves as an extension of the hiring process.
CONCLUDING A TRIAL PERIOD
The requirements of including a trial period in an agreement:
- it must be concluded in writing;
- it must be concluded before the employee starts performing duties;
- it must be an equal period for both parties (for instance 1 month for both employer and employee);
- the employee is not familiar with the employee in the position of the employment contract, the employee was not previously employed by a group entity.
HOW LONG CAN IT BE?
Employment contract > 2 years or for an indefinitie period of time: maximum trial period of 2 months
Employment contract < 2 years, but at least 6 months: maximum trial period of 1 month
As to an employment agreement of less than 6 months, it's not possible to conclude a valid trial period.
INVOKING A TRIAL PERIOD
The trial period has great benefits for the employer:
- no grounds necessary to give notice;
- no notice peroid applicable;
- no severance payment required;
- notice can be given even before the employment has commenced.
INVOKING A TRIAL PERIOD IS NOT POSSIBLE:
- if there is discrimination: for instance because notice is given because of illness or sexual orientation;
- if the employer abuses the trial period clause (for instance to pressure the emploiyee to agree to something not agreed upon in the initial employment agreement).
The employee can also use the trial period. In the event the employee finds another (better paying) job, he can invoke the trial period as well and leave immediately. A trial period can therefore be useful for the new employee as well.