Can you extend a probation period?

In Australia, whether you can extend a probation period depends on the terms and conditions explained  in the employment contract or agreement, as well as compliance with proper employment laws and regulations.

Here are some key points to consider.

Employment contract

Probationary periods are usually explained in the employment contract or agreement between the employer and the employee. This contract will go over the length of the probation period and any conditions related to making it longer.

Extension of probation

If the employment contract allows for making the probationary period longer, the employer can generally extend it with the consent of the employee. This may be necessary if the employer feels that more time is needed to assess the employee's fit for the role.

Fair Work Act

In Australia, employment laws, including the Fair Work Act 2009, govern various aspects of the employment relationship. Employers must ensure that any extra time during the probation period aligns with these laws and regulations. For example, the extension should not violate any rights related to unfair dismissal or adverse action.


It's crucial to keep open communication with the employee during the probationary period. If an employer wishes to extend the probationary period, they should discuss it with the employee and obtain their consent. It's generally better to reach an agreement with the employee rather than setting an increase unilaterally.


The increase in the probationary period should be reasonable and justifiable. Employers should provide clear reasons for why they have chosen to extend and ensure that the employee has the opportunity to improve and meet the required performance standards.

Written agreement

It's best to document any increase in the probationary period in writing, with both the employer and employee signing off on the agreement. This can help avoid conflict in the future.

Seek legal advice

If there are any uncertainties or legal concerns regarding extending an employee's probation period, it's best to consult with an employment lawyer or seek help from the Fair Work Commission.

In summary, it is possible to extend an employee's probation period in Australia, but it should be done in line with the employment contract, employment laws, and with the consent of the employee. Open communication and documentation are important throughout this process to ensure everything is fair and compliant.

For more information regarding employment regulations and guidelines, click the button below to read our post on Australia's national employment standards.

Can you extend a probation period?