Kansas Department of Administration

How do I handle a new probationary employee that is about to come off of original probation but is working at less than meets expectations?

Posted on 10/21/2021 at 12:50 PM by Kansas Department of Administration

The scenario is you have a new hire employee who at the end of their original 6 months probation is working at a needs improvement level. How should you handle this situation as the supervisor?

The regulations state the following:

K.A.R. 1-7-3 (b) Before the end of the probationary period, the appointing authority shall provide the director with results of a performance review for the employee. If the overall performance review rating given to a probationary employee before the end of the employee’s probationary period is unsatisfactory, the employee shall not be granted permanent status. The performance review ratings required by this subsection shall not be required to occur within the time period established in K.A.R. 1-7-10 (a)(3).

K.A.R. 1-7-3 (d) Any probationary employee, other than an employee on probation due to a promotion from a position in which the employee had permanent status, may be dismissed by the appointing authority at any time during the probationary period.

K.A.R. 1-7-4 (a) Each new hire and each rehire made on a basis other than reemployment or reinstatement who is employed in a regular position shall be subject to a probationary period of six months. This probationary period may be extended by the appointing authority for not more than six additional months if action to extend the probationary period is taken before the end of the original six-month probationary period. A probationary period of not more than 12 months may be established by the appointing authority if specific training or certification requirements for a position cannot be completed within six months.

1-7-6. (a) Before the expiration of each employee's probationary period, a performance review shall be completed and a rating shall be assigned, and the appointing authority shall notify the employee and the director in writing of one of the following:
(1) The employee has been dismissed or demoted.
(2) The probationary period is being extended, if extension is permissible under the provisions of K.A.R. 1-7-4.
(3) The employee is being given permanent status.
(b) If a probationary employee has not been notified in accordance with subsection (a) by the end of any probationary period, the employee shall be deemed to have been given permanent status. In case of dispute as to whether the employee was notified, a determination shall be made by the director.

So, based on these provisions, you have two options in this scenario. The first option is to not grant permanent status, and terminate the employee pursuant to K.A.R. 1-7-3 (d). The regulation requires that an employee who receives an unsatisfactory rating shall not be granted permanent status, but there are no requirements with respect to any other rating. Therefore, if an employee receives a Needs Improvement rating on an original probationary evaluation, the determination of whether the employee is granted permanent status may be made on a case-by-case basis, as determined by the specific issues that served as the basis of the Needs Improvement rating.

The second option in this situation would be to extend the probationary period for an additional six months if specific training or certification requirements for the position cannot be completed within the original six month probationary period. In accordance with K.A.R. 1-7-6 (a), this action must be taken before the expiration of the original six month probationary period. If not, the employee will be deemed to have been granted permanent status pursuant to K.A.R. 1-7-6 (b). Remember that this option is only available when the employee is a new hire or rehire, and is not an option when the employee returned to State service via reinstatement or is serving a probationary period due to a promotion.

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