Rules on Probationary Employment

What is the rule on probationary employment under the Labor Code? [1] Probationary employment shall not exceed six (6) months from the date the employee started working, unless it is covered by an apprenticeship agreement stipulating a longer period. The services of an employee who has been engaged on a probationary basis may be terminated for a just cause or when he fails to qualify as a regular employee in accordance with reasonable standards made known by the employer to the employee at the time of his engagement. An employee who is allowed to work after a probationary period shall be considered a regular employee. What is the exception to the rule that probationary employment shall not exceed 6 months? The period of probationary employment may exceed six months when the parties so agree, such as when the same is established by company policy, or when it is required by the nature of the work. [2] The exception was explained by the Supreme Court in the case of Buiser vs. Hon. Leogardo [3] In the following manner: In the case at bar, it is shown that private respondent Company needs at least eighteen (18) months to determine the character and selling capabilities of the petitioners as sales representatives. The Company is engaged in advertisement and publication in the Yellow Pages of the PLDT Telephone Directories. Publication of solicited ads are only made a year after the sale has been made and only then win the company be able to evaluate the efficiency, conduct, and selling ability of its sales representatives, the evaluation being based on the published ads. What are the 2 requirements that the employer should comply with when dealing with a probationary employee? [4] 1. The employer must communicate the regularization standards to the probationary employee; and 2. The employer must make such communication at the time of the probationary employee’s engagement. If the employer fails to comply with either, the employee is deemed as a regular and not a probationary employee. What are the grounds in terminating the services of a probationary employee? [5] The services of an employee who has been engaged on a probationary basis may be terminated for any of the following: 1. a just cause;

2. an authorized cause; and

3. when he fails to qualify as a regular employee in accordance with reasonable standards prescribed by the employer. Is notice and hearing a part of due process in terminating a probationary employee on the ground that he failed to qualify with the reasonable standards prescribed by the employer? No. Due process of law for this ground consists of making the reasonable standards expected of the employee during his probationary period known to him at the time of his probationary employment. By the very nature of a probationary employment, the employee knows from the very start that he will be under close observation and his performance of his assigned duties and functions would be under continuous scrutiny by his superiors. It is in apprising him of the standards against which his performance shall be continuously assessed where due process lies, and not in notice and hearing. [6]

See also our discussions on "due process in employee termination".

You may also check the Philippine government's official publication of The Labor Code of the Philippines for your complete reference guide. [1] Art. 296 (formerly Art. 281), Labor Code [2] Buiser, vs. Hon. Leogardo, G.R. L-63316 (July 31, 1984) [3] Supra. [4] Abbot Laboratories vs. Alcaraz, G.R. No. 192571 (July 23, 2013) [5] Supra. [6] Philippine Daily Inquirer G.R. No. 164532 (July 24, 2007)

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