Probationary period extension? What does probationary period mean in the Philippine work setting? How long is it? And, can we extend it? We will answer these questions so read on.
Let’s start with an excerpt from the Labor Code of the Philippines:
ART. 296.  Probationary Employment. – Probationary employment shall not exceedLabor Code of the Philippines, Renumbered, DOLE Edition 2022
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.
We can think of it as a testing period. It allows us to see if the employee indeed is the best fit for the role and for the Company culture.
In case the employee does not perform, then start speaking with your HR Partner or Consultant as early as the 3rd month. Because you would want to be sure that you have done all the coaching sessions and other conversations with your employee by his/her/their 5th month. There is a due process to follow for this just like all other employee cases.
But, what if 6 months or 180 days, to be more precise, is not enough? Can we do probationary period extension?
Well, the short answer is no. The employee gets regularized. If the performance is not up to par, you will have to enroll the employee to performance improvement process. Usually it is the Performance Improvement Plan or PIP. But this is twice or even thrice as taxing as the process to non-regularize an employee.
There is however, one reason for which we can extend the probation period and that is maternity or sickness. AND, ONLY IF, the employee had to be away for a great part of the probation period. Hence, not allowing enough opportunities to observe the employee’s performance.
The probationary period shall not be extended except in the case of extended illness or injury or compelling personal situation during which time the employee was unable to work. In such cases, the probationary period may be extended for the length of time the ill or injured employee was unable to work.
There is usually paperwork that the immediate leader and employee will have to sign in such a situation. So,, please work closely with your HR Partner should you have a need to extend probation period of one or more (hopefully not) of your team members.