Probation Periods

Can an apprentice work with me without a training contract?

An apprentice is an employee who is bound by a training contract registered with the State Training Authority.
An employee can also only be paid apprentice pay rates if they have a formal training contract with their employer so any staff employed as an ‘apprentice’ must have a training contract in place.

Can I trial my apprentice before signing a training contract?

All training contracts already have probation periods in place so apprentices and employers can assess if the apprentice is suitable for the role and the business.

Your employee will not be considered an apprentice until they have a formal training contract in place. If you are trialling an employee before they become an apprentice please remember that until they sign a training contract, apprentice pay rates won’t apply. Call Fairwork on 13 13 94 or Wageline on 1300 655 266 for wage advice.

What is a Training Contract Probation Period?

Each Apprenticeship and Traineeship has a Probation Period under the training contract. This allows the employer and apprentice or trainee time to assess their compatibility and suitability to the apprenticeship or traineeship. During this probation period, the training contract may be cancelled by the employer or apprentice/ trainee at any time.

Please note that the probationary period of the training contract may differ from the employment probationary period contained in an award or industrial agreement.

Does every qualification have a Probation Period?

Yes, all training contracts entered into between an apprentice/trainee and an employer have a probation period.

How long is the Probation Period?

The probation period begins on the commencement date listed on the training contract and is the shorter of:

  • three months; or
  • one-twelfth of the contract’s nominal duration

For example, if a contract is 12 months in nominal duration, the probation period will be 1 month.

Can I extend the Probation Period?

In general – yes. During the original probation period, an apprentice/ trainee (and their parent/ guardian if applicable) or employer may apply to the Apprenticeship Office to extend the probation period. There are some instances where this may not apply (e.g. electrical trades) and we recommend confirming this with ASA before you submit an extension.

How long can I extend a Probation Period for?

The extension requested must not exceed the initial probation period. For example; where the initial probation period was one month, the maximum extension to the probation period will be one month.

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