Probationary Period

The first ninety (90) days of employment for newly hired employees or employees who have been promoted or transferred into new positions is considered the probationary period. During this time supervisors will orient employees and carefully consider their ability to meet the standards and expectations of the job.

During the probationary period, new employees:

  • Have the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities.
  • Can determine if the new position meets their expectations.
  • Attends New Employee Orientation (for new hires).
  • Review, sign and retain a copy of the job description for their position.
  • Learn performance expectations and take ownership for their own performance.
  • Review and become familiar with University and departmental policies and procedures.
  • Ask questions and request information when necessary.
  • Maintain open and honest communication with supervisor.

During the probationary period, supervisors:

  • Orient employees to the University and department operations.
  • Acquaint employees with University and department procedures and practices.
  • Introduce employees to department members and other key employees.
  • Provide and review the position description with employees.
    • Supervisors and Employees sign the job description.
    • Provide employees with a copy.
    • Retain the signed copy and return to Human Resources with Probationary Evaluation.
  • Establish performance expectations and explain how employees will be evaluated.
  • Maintain open communication with employees.
  • Review this policy and set a date for a probationary evaluation.
  • Provide regular feedback, coaching and constructive criticism.
  • Ensure employees are scheduled for and attend New Employee Orientation.
  • Monitor the employees' performance including:
    • Ability to learn and perform job duties
    • Quality and quantity of work
    • Overall productivity
    • Work habits
    • Cooperation
    • Attendance and punctuality
  • Determine if employees demonstrate a satisfactory level of performance and conduct the Staff Probationary Evaluation.

Probationary Evaluation

Prior to the end of the 90 day probationary period, supervisors will assess if new or newly transferred employees can successfully perform the essential functions for their position. Supervisors are encouraged to work with the Human Resources Department if/when necessary to determine the appropriate course of action prior to the end of the probationary period.

Supervisors will then complete the Staff Probationary Evaluation (.pdf). The components of this evaluation include:

  1. The Position Description – The position description as reviewed by employees during Orientation provides the basis to assess employees’ abilities to effectively perform in the position for which they were hired. The position description signed by supervisors and employees during Orientation should be returned with the Probationary Evaluation.
  2. The Staff Probationary Evaluation – Human Resources will provide supervisors with the evaluation which is also accessible via links within the policy. Supervisors should utilize this form to indicate that:
    1. The employee has successfully completed probation or;
    2. The probationary period will be extended or;
    3. The employee will no longer be employed in stated position. Supervisors must contact Human Resources prior to terminating employment.

All probationary employees must be reviewed on or before the expiration of the first 90 calendar days. Employees are welcome to make comments in the designated section of the form during the review. After discussing the review with the employee, supervisors should:

  • Provide a copy to the employee.
  • Retain a copy of the form.
  • Send the original, signed form to Human Resources with position description attached.

This should be done within 15 days of the completion of the probationary period.

Extending Probationary Period

Supervisors will work with employees throughout the probationary period to assess if they are able to effectively perform the position’s essential functions. Under special circumstances a supervisor may choose to extend the probationary period to provide more time for the employees to demonstrate their abilities. Supervisors are encouraged to consult with Human Resources at least one week prior to the end of employees’ probationary period to determine if an extension is warranted.

If it is determined that the introductory period will be extended, the employee will be notified on or before the expiration of the first 90 calendar days. Prior to the end of the probationary extension, supervisors are encouraged to consult Human Resources to determine the appropriate course of action based on the employee's progress during the extension period. If the employee has successfully completed the extended probationary period, the supervisor should complete and return the full Staff Probationary Evaluation referenced above.

Unsatisfactory Performance

Employees may be released at any time during probation at the sole discretion of the University for reasons including but not limited to:

  • Unsatisfactory performance or conduct.
  • Unsatisfactory progress.
  • General unsuitability for the position.
  • Violation of University policies/procedures.
  • Violation of departmental policies/procedures.

In cases of promotions or transfers within Wilkes University, an employee who, in the sole judgment of management, is not successful in the new position can be removed from that position at any time during the secondary probationary period. If this occurs, the employee may be allowed to apply for a comparable open position for which the employee is qualified.

Supervisors must contact Human Resources prior employment termination or transfer to a new position.


During the initial probationary period, new employees are eligible for those benefits that are required by law, such as workers' compensation insurance and Social Security. Employees may also be eligible for other Wilkes University-provided benefits, subject to the terms and conditions of each benefits program. Employees should read the information for each specific benefits program for the details on eligibility requirements. Employees may also contact the Human Resources Department for benefits information or clarification.

Employee benefits eligibility and employment status do not change during a secondary probationary period due to a promotion or transfer.

PLEASE NOTE: Since employment with Wilkes University is based on mutual consent, both the employee and Wilkes University have the right to terminate employment at-will, at any time during or after the probationary period, with or without cause or advance notice. Completion of the Probationary Period is not a guarantee of continued employment and does not change the at-will nature of the employment relationship.

Effective Date: 2/1/2004 | Revision Date: 11/2013 | Reviewed: 01/2019