Probationary Period – when does it end?

In an unprecedented decision by the Industrial Tribunal of the 16th January 2014, in the case Paul Thomas McKenna vs de Vere & Partners Holding Limited, it was held that once the employee was engaged on the 6th February with a probationary period of six months, then the probationary period lapsed on the 5th of August.

In this case, whereby plaintiff was assisted by Dr Ian Spiteri Bailey, the employee’s work engagement was terminated on the 6th of August and no reason was given on the premise that the termination was being done during the probationary period, given that the engagement date was 6th February. The defendant argued that the 6th August was the last day of the probationary period given that the analogy was to be made to calculation on the basis of calendar months.

Plaintiff argued that the probationary period had lapsed on the 5th August, and the 6th August, a day on which he duly reported for work, was the beginning of the seventh month of his employment. An analogy was here made to calculation of one’s birthday.

The Tribunal found in favor of the plaintiff’s reasoning, and thus awarded €3000 by way of compensation for an unjust dismissal, given that the plaintiff’s employment was not terminated within the probationary period and no valid reason at law was given for such a termination.

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