Your probation

When new members of staff first join the University, a period of additional support is given in order to ensure the best possible start, provide clear expectations about all aspects of the new role and working at the University of Essex, and to enable there to be structured dialogue as the employee settles into their role. The form that this period takes depends on the type of role, and in some cases the type of contract.

For Professional Services staff, and Academic and Research staff on fixed-term contracts this period of time is called Probation.  Academic and Research staff employed on permanent contracts are required to undertake Pathway to Permanency, which is a structured, longer-term process, and they will not have a separate probation process. Please see the Academic Permanency and Promotion page for more detail on this process.   

Any problems should be highlighted and addressed at an early stage so that support can be given.  New staff members must take ownership of their own development; and so this is a two-way process. 

Fixed term Academic and Professional Service probation period length

  • Permanent professional staff: 12 months for grade 7-11, 6 months for grade 1-6.
  • Fixed-term professional staff: half the duration of the contract with a maximum of six months. One month for 3-6 month contracts. No probation for one-month contracts.
  • Fixed-term academic and research staff: three months for a 12 month contract or six months for a contract greater than 12 months.

Professional Services employee probation guidance

Academic Employee Fixed Term Contract probation guidance

Targets for this type of Academic Probation are agreed locally within Academic Departments, and completion of the probation period is similarly managed locally. One area of target setting that will apply to all staff members is the requirement to complete essential training. A further requirement that may apply is the need for staff employed on an Academic contract primarily with Education responsibilities (ASE) of 12 months’ duration or greater to achieve Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy by the 12-month point. This may be done via the University’s CADENZA scheme.  

Guidance for managers supporting colleagues on a probation period

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Organisational Development
Telephone: 01206 874402