Probationary periods (PDF, 170KB)
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As a general rule, the probationary period for apprenticeships is 90 days and 30 - 60 days for traineeships (this includes full-time, part-time and school-based apprenticeships and traineeships). This period allows the employer and apprentice or trainee time to assess their compatibility and suitability to the apprenticeship or traineeship. The employer should commence training during this period.
The probationary period applies from the first day of the apprenticeship or traineeship and is included in the nominal term (length of the apprenticeship or traineeship) of the training contract. Probationary periods also apply to training contract where the apprentice or trainee is recommencing in the same apprenticeship or traineeship. However, probationary periods will not apply where the training contract has been temporarily or permanently transferred to another employer. Although a probationary period will not apply where the training contract has been temporarily or permanently transferred, apprentices and trainees are considered as employees, and under the National Employment Standards (NES) an employment probationary period will apply.
To confirm the probationary period of a particular apprenticeship or traineeship, visit the Queensland Training Information Service (QTIS) website.
Extending the probationary period
The employer and apprentice or trainee may apply to extend the probationary period for the training contract, for reasons such as:
- the employer is dissatisfied with the apprentice or trainee's progress; or
- the apprentice or trainee is uncertain about their suitability to the apprenticeship or traineeship.
The probationary period cannot be extended more than 6 months past the commencement date of the apprenticeship or traineeship.
The employer and apprentice or trainee must send their application to extend the probationary period to their Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider or the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training at least 14 days before the end of the probationary period. The ATF-036 Extension of probationary period form has been developed for this purpose.
A decision on the application will be made within 7 days of receiving it and the parties will be advised of the decision in writing.
Ending the apprenticeship or traineeship during the probationary period
Whether a training contract has been signed or not, the apprenticeship or traineeship may be ended by the employer or apprentice or trainee at any time during the probationary period. The party who wishes to end the apprenticeship or traineeship must inform the other party in writing, stating the date the apprenticeship or traineeship is to end. The end date can be no later than the day the probationary period to due to finish.
The employer must notify their AASN provider or the department that the apprenticeship or traineeship has ended within 7 days after it ends.
Ending the employment contract
Probationary periods for employment are a separate matter from probationary periods for an apprenticeship or traineeship. For further information on the employment contract, contact the Fair Work Ombudsman.
For further information
- The AASN provider for the training contract.
- Apprenticeships Info on 1800 210 210, regarding the training contract probation.
- Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94, regarding the employment probationary period, wages and other employment entitlements.