Probationary Employment Agreement

Does anyone here have a Probationary Employment Agreement? A document you have new hires sign that says they know they’re working on a “trial” bases and lets them know the restrictions are and what forfeits the agreement?

I decided to draft one up for our store because we haven’t been having much luck with finding quality workers.
Here’s how it reads.

Probationary-Term Employment Agreement

I, the undersigned, agree that I am employed by Free Wheeler Pizza on a 60 day probationary period.

During this period I will receive:

• Compensation not to exceed minimum wage.
• A probationary employee discount of 20% to be used only during the time I am on shift.
• Training based on my qualifications as well as on the store’s needs.

I understand that my probationary term may be forfeited at any time and for any reason including but not limited to.

• Failure to report for a shift.
• Excessive tardiness.
• Insubordination.
• Theft.
• Neglect of duties assigned.

I also understand that if after 60 days I have successfully completed my probationary term, I may be eligible for full term employment with the following benefits:

• Compensation based on performance and experience
• A full term employee discount of 50%
• Other benefits .

Print Name__________________________________


Date //____

Is this binding? Do I need to add anything else? It’s pretty simple because we’re a small local store with about 13 employees.

Thanks for your input.

That should be ok, although I would suggest going one step further and produce an employee handbook. You can include that policy and many others as well. I grabbed one from Longhorn Steakhouse and used it as a template to make mine. I’m sure if you google it you’ll find one online to use. In the back I have all my employees sign it, that way there is no questions about any of the issues inside. Cover drugs, weapons, theft, violence, anything you can think of and put it in there. Yes its a bit labor intensive but it may cover your butt. Just my two cents good luck man, have a great day.


I am Canadian, and dont know if American laws are the same. But I will give you my opinion based on what it is like here. First, every employement start has 90 days that the employment can be terminated, for any, and no reason whatsover. The thing that I worry about by having a contract such as this is you are limiting the reasons you can terminate an employee that doesnt have any rights for the first 90 days anyway.
For example, what about just not gelling with the team? I have an employee I hired, that will be being let go today. He has never been late, he has never been insubordinate, he has never stolen, he has never neglected duties assigned. But…he cant think on his feet, cant multitask, has no desire to jump in and help others as needed. If he was only concerned about the things listed on your contract he would be very confused as to why I would be letting him go.
Do you see what I am saying? If your laws that state these points and more, Why give yourself the lessor? I think that an employee handbook IS the way to go as Hannah said. It is not really all that hard to do when you have a template of another one. It is general, most stuff is self explanitory but it gets it in writing.

If you feel that you must have a probationary agreement, then at the VERY LEAST, leave yourself a large loophole as the 4th bullet, something to the effect of
*Or any other reasons that management/ownership feel that continued employement with our company will not be in your or our best interest.
Something very vague such as that.


I’m sure there are some good legal reasons to have this but we just don’t fire people for reasons that might be a problem. i.e. we won’t fire someone for stealing, but find another reason instead. Someone who needs to be terminated usually has a number of reasons. Just pick the one that offers the least amount of resistance.

Thanks for the input folks!

canukfanlady: Yes I agree and will impliment your fourth bullet point. It’s funny because I got “let go” from this very pizza place a long time ago for some of the very same reasons you mentioned. Not able to think on my feet etc…It was the nicest firing I ever got. I worked a few more jobs, then got a job at another pizza place, honed my skills, learned to think on my feet, jump in, and after about a year the original pizza place hired me back. That was in 1991. I’ve been here ever since.

Anyway I’ll check for some employee manual templates.

Thanks again!

anyone who works for me ,i let know they are here because THEY asked for a job,i did not ask them.
if they do not fill the bill i am not going to waste my time with them.they are a volunteer worker on my payroll.
i do not need to have any reason to keep or release them,i do not give them any explanation for dismissal and by law i do not need one.
i just tell them i am changing the line up…

Our laws are very similar to yours.

We area able to put new employees on a 3 month trial period where we can terminate employment with 1 hours notice for casuals and 1 day for full time. All we have to do is tell them this but we put the condition in writing in their appointment letter.

Only last week I had to let go our newly hired assistant manager. I had some concerns that arose about her personal life that could affect our business plus their were other areas of performance that both I and my manager had concerns. I gave her notice of termination and paid her 1 days in lieu of notice (as I didn’t want her back in the store), giving her an explanation that “she didn’t show the attributes and development we were looking for in a person for this position”.

I don’t know how your industrial laws are there but I expect that if you gave a letter of appointment outling a “trial period” and that after satisfactory completement “xyz” conditions then came in to effect that you would be covered. Worth checking out with the relevant bodies. Ours are on the relevant State or Federal Govt websites.

Even as a small business there is no option than to research it and present it to new employees correctly to safeguard yourself in this litigation crazy world.

Ignorance of the law is no defence


In the US, employment laws vary by state (with the exception of federal stuff like ADA, discrimination, etc). In Texas, we are able to terminate without cause. You still wanna cover your butt. But you don’t have to go through any formal procedure. You can terminate just because you don’t like the shoes they wear.

However, that would be poor management. I really believe in GE’s: “Hire for attitude, train for skill”. So it will be made plain that they were hired because we like their attitude and for the first few weeks, the goal is to see how they fit in with the culture and whether they enjoy the work. Getting great performance from an employee depends of them being intrinsically motivated. So over the first few weeks, the manager must make time to get the new employee to confide in their experiences and thoughts. And should it not be a good fit, the employee must also feel that leaving is the best decision and have no hard feelings. Employees are also customers.

Dewar’s advice is right on here. Cover your butt with an 'at will employment agreement[/url]’. A quick google brought up [url=]this pdf example. Short and sweet and it does the trick.

The biggest challenges you will run into operating a restaurant will not come from the guys you fire though. It comes from the ones you don’t fire. All of this type of stuff deserves about 8 minutes of time during NEO. You will serve yourself and your long term needs far more effectively by honing and developing your crew training skills and concentrating on team management.

Very very true. NEO should not focus on all the rules. You should have a minimal set because you cannot make a rule for every situation nor would you want to. Focus on building a culture of teamwork so that they manage themselves. Less turnover. Greater employee satisfaction. Pride of quality. All comes from developing people, not rules. CYA but don’t focus on it.