Hiring an employee is an important step in the life of a company, particularly in small and medium-sized businesses where each member of the team plays a decisive role. Planning a trial period is an excellent way to validate the chosen candidate and to secure the hiring.
How does the trial period work? Is it possible to renew it? Under what conditions?
🔍 Zoom in on the rules to follow to get the most out of this device.
The trial period is a first step in the employment relationship, during which both the employer and the employee can break the contract.
It can apply regardless of the nature of the contract signed – permanent or fixed-term.
The trial period is of interest to both parties:
- It allows the employer to evaluate the skills of the new employee and to ensure that his or her profile matches the company.
- For the employee, it is a way to ensure that his new job meets his expectations and that the company culture suits them.
The use of a trial period is extremely common, but it is not mandatory and even less automatic!
The trial period must be provided for in the employment contract or the letter of appointment.
Its renewal must also be expressly provided for in the employment contract or letter of appointment.
The maximum duration of the trial period is set by the Labor Code, the applicable collective agreement, or the employment contract.
For a permanent contract, the trial period can last a maximum of
- 2 months for workers and employees,
- 3 months for supervisors and technicians,
- and 4 months for managers.
For a fixed-term contract, the maximum duration is
- 1 day per week up to a maximum of 2 weeks if the fixed-term contract lasts 6 months or less,
- 1 month if the contract lasts more than 6 months.
As part of a permanent contract, the trial period may be renewed once if:
- an extended branch agreement provides for this possibility,
- the employment contract or the letter of engagement also provides for it
- and both parties consent to it.
The Labor Code limits the total duration of the trial period, including renewal, to :
- 4 months for workers and employees,
- 6 months for supervisors and technicians,
- 8 months for managers.
During the trial period, both the employer and the employee can terminate the contract freely and without justification. In this case, the payment of compensation is not required and the rules relating to the dismissal procedure do not apply.
However, the parties must respect a notice period.
- The employer who ends the trial period must notify the employee within a minimum of:
- 24 hours if the employee has been with the company for less than 8 days,
- 48 hours between 8 days and 1 month of presence,
- 2 weeks after 1 month of presence,
- 1 month after 3 months of presence.
Failure to comply with this notice period results in the payment to the employee of a compensatory indemnity – unless the latter has committed a serious fault.
- The employee who ends the trial period must respect a notice period of 48 hours. This period is reduced to 24 hours if the employee has been with the company for less than 8 days.
The trial period may not be terminated on the basis of a discriminatory or economic reason. It could be considered abusive.
Moreover, if a disciplinary reason is invoked to terminate it, the employer must respect the classic disciplinary procedure.
Including a trial period in your employment contracts is a good management decision that allows you to limit the risks associated with hiring.
However, care must be taken in its implementation.
First, you must ensure that you can include a trial period in the employment contract and determine its duration.
Remember to check the provisions of your collective agreement. In addition, specific rules may apply. This is the case, for example, for the hiring of a person who has already worked in the company in the same position as a trainee, apprentice, on a fixed-term contract or on a temporary assignment.
Be sure to include the provisions for the trial period in a specific clause in the employment contract.
Also provide for the possibility of renewal. To do this, carefully consult the applicable branch agreements: do they allow the renewal of the trial period? In what conditions ? Are the durations provided for in the collective agreement applicable? This is not the case, for example, when their duration is less than common law.
In fact, the employment contract cannot be less favorable to the employee than the collective agreement.
If the collective agreement does not provide for the renewal of the trial period, any clause in the employment contract that does so is null and void. In this case, the breach of the employment contract may be requalified as a dismissal without real and serious cause.
Finally, make sure you keep proof of your employee’s agreement to the renewal of the trial period.