Probation - Managerial Policy

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Probation - Managerial Policy


Approval authority
Vice-Chancellor and President
Responsible officer
Chief Operating Officer
Designated officer
Director, Human Resources
First approved
6 June 2017
Last amended
8 June 2017
Effective start date
8 June 2017
Review date
6 June 2022
Related documents
Learning and Teaching - Academic Policy
Performance Planning and Review (PPR) - Managerial Policy
Probation for Academic Staff - Procedures
Probation for Professional Staff - Procedures
Research - Academic Policy
Staff Code of Conduct - Governing Policy
Staff Development - Managerial Policy
Student Evaluation of Teaching and Courses (SETAC) - Academic Policy
Related legislation / standards
USC Enterprise Agreement (EA)

1. Purpose of policy

The purpose of this policy is to affirm the University’s commitment to probation as a means of ensuring new staff settle in their positions and become productive and engaged staff members from the commencement of their employment with the University.

2. Policy scope and application

This policy applies to all staff employed in ongoing or fixed-term appointments.

3. Definitions

Probationary period means a defined period of time during which a new staff member’s performance is subject to formal review for the purpose of determining whether or not their contract of employment should continue. During this time, the staff member is provided with clear job expectations, constructive guidance, feedback and support to confirm progress and/or identify concerns or deficiencies in performance and conduct and provide opportunities for their resolution.

Probation plan is a document developed by a new staff member and their supervisor that establishes appropriate performance and development goals, which are based on the requirements of the position as outlined in the position description, and a schedule of formal meetings to monitor and review progress.

4. Policy Statement

4.1 Principles

4.1.1 The University of the Sunshine Coast aspires to be a university of international standing, a driver of capacity building in the Sunshine Coast and broader region, and an unsurpassed community asset.

4.1.2 The achievement of the University’s goals depends on the performance and contributions of all staff. A priority is to attract, retain and develop staff who can contribute to the realisation of the University’s Strategic Plan.

4.1.3 The purposes of probation are to:

  • Enable both the University and the staff member to evaluate employment suitability and for the staff member to demonstrate performance and outcomes across the range of duties and expectations prescribed to the position and the probation plan
  • Provide the supervisor and the staff member the opportunity to establish a constructive working relationship
  • Provide the opportunity to take corrective action to address any deficiency in performance or conduct.

4.1.4 All staff employed in ongoing and fixed-term appointments normally undergo a probationary period. However, a probationary period is not normally required for a fixed-term staff member on a second or subsequent reasonably contiguous appointment in a position of the same or similar duties.

4.1.5 The University of the Sunshine Coast is recognised nationally as a leading Australian university for teaching excellence. To maintain the high quality of teaching at the University, all academic staff, except where recommended by the Executive Dean and approved by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, are required to complete the University’s Foundations of University Teaching professional development course during their probationary period or demonstrate they have successfully completed a comparable course at another university. An academic appointment will not be confirmed without fulfilment of this requirement.

4.2 The Probationary Period

4.2.1 The probationary period is set prior to commencement of employment. The staff member is advised of the length of the probationary period and the position of their supervisor through the letter of offer or contract of employment.

4.2.2 The maximum length of a probationary period is:

  • Academic positions       3 years
  • Professional positions       1 year

4.2.3 For fixed-term appointments, the probationary period is normally not more than half of the term of the appointment.

4.3 The Probation Process

4.3.1 The probation process involves:

  • The development of a Probation Plan to establish performance and development goals
  • Regular formal meetings between the supervisor and the staff member to ensure role clarity, review performance and monitor the achievement of performance and development goals
  • The supervisor giving constructive guidance, feedback and support; maintaining records of discussions; and ensuring evidence of progress and achievement of performance and development goals is collated; and when required, discussing any deficiency in performance or conduct with the staff member and providing the opportunity to take corrective action
  • The supervisor conducting a final review of probation to determine whether or not the staff member should be recommended for confirmation of appointment.

4.3.2 As soon as possible after commencement of employment, the new staff member meets formally with their supervisor to discuss and develop a Probation Plan.

4.4 Outcomes of probation

4.4.1 If a staff member successfully completes probation, their ongoing or fixed-term employment is confirmed.

4.4.2 If a staff member does not successfully complete probation, their appointment is terminated. Termination of employment can occur at any time during the probationary period.

4.4.3 Where employment of a staff member is terminated in these circumstances, notice is given in accordance with the University’s Enterprise Agreement.

4.4.4 The staff member is advised of the outcome of their probation in writing.

5. Authorities/Responsibilities

The following authorities/responsibilities are delegated under this policy:

Activity University Officer/Committee
Meet regularly with the staff member to develop and implement the Probation Plan; monitor performance and development; give guidance and support; and conduct a final review of probation to recommend to the relevant senior staff member whether or not the probationary staff member’s appointment should be confirmed Supervisor
For professional staff, approve whether or not the employment of a probationary staff member should be confirmed Relevant senior staff member
For academic staff, recommend whether or not the staff member’s appointment should be confirmed Executive Dean  
For academic staff, approve whether or not an academic staff member’s appointment should be confirmed Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor  
Determine whether a recommendation to terminate probationary employment should be enacted Vice-Chancellor and President or nominee  
If probation is completed successfully, advise the staff member of the outcome of their probation in writing Director, Human Resources  
If probation is not completed successfully and employment is terminated, advise the staff member of the outcome of their probation in writing Vice-Chancellor and President (or nominee)


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