University Policies
Policy Contact
Director of Recruitment and Staffing Operations Email 401-863-3175

Employment Probationary Periods Policy

Policy No. Issue Date Effective Date

1.0 Policy Purpose

The Probationary Period provides an opportunity for the supervisor and employee to assess the employment relationship. The Probationary Period allows supervisors to oversee an employee’s work, offer advice to increase effectiveness, or dismiss the employee. 

2.0 To Whom the Policy Applies

This policy applies to any newly hired, transferred or promoted non-union staff employees and their supervisor.

3.0 Policy Statement

All staff employees new to a position at Brown University will serve and successfully complete an initial ninety-day probationary period. Another ninety-day probationary period will start and must be successfully completed when an employee is transferred or promoted to a different position.

In situations where a department requires additional time to assess an employee's performance, University Human Resources may authorize the extension of a Probationary Period. Employees must be informed of an extension, in writing, prior to the expiration of the initial Probationary Period.

When employees are absent from work for a total of 10 working days or more during their Probationary Period, the period may be extended by the length of the absence. When the supervisor's position is vacant during an employee's Probationary Period, the supervisor hired to fill the vacant supervisory position, may extend the Probationary Period by the length of the vacancy.

A Probationary Period does not guarantee employment for the ninety-day period, an employee may be terminated for any reason at any time, either during the Probationary Period or after completing it, if authorized by University Human Resources. In cases of termination during the Probationary Period, notice or Pay in Lieu of Notice may be offered. Please see the Performance Management and Corrective Discipline Policy for more information.  

Completion of the Probationary Period does not entitle an employee to remain employed by Brown for any definite period of time. Both the employee and Brown are free, at any time, with or without notice and with or without cause, to end the employment relationship.  

4.0 Definitions

For the purpose of this policy, the terms below have the following definitions:

Probationary Period:

Introductory ninety-day period, which may be extended, that allows both supervisors and employees to assess the working relationship and performance.

Pay in Lieu of Notice:

Compensation that may be offered to an employee terminated without advance notice.

5.0 Responsibilities

All individuals to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy. University supervisors are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure compliance with it.

University Human Resources: University Human Resources will launch a probationary appraisal form to the manager the month prior to the expiration of the Probationary Period. University Human Resources will authorize Probationary Period extension and termination requests.

Supervisors: Supervisors must complete the electronic Probationary Appraisal Form prior to the end of the Probationary Period. If an extension is needed, supervisors must request approval from University Human Resources at least one week in advance.

6.0 Consequences for Violating this Policy

Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension without pay, or termination of employment or association with the University, in accordance with applicable (e.g., staff, faculty, student) disciplinary procedures. 

Failure to complete the Probationary Appraisal Form prior to the probation end date considers the employee to have successfully completed the Probationary Period.

7.0 Related Information

This policy is not a legal document. This policy does not confer a term of employment, nor is the language intended to establish a contract of employment, express or implied, between any employee and Brown University. The University reserves the right to change, amend or terminate any of its human resources policies at any time for any reason.

Brown University is a community in which employees are encouraged to share workplace concerns with University leadership. Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting on matters of concern online or by phone (877-318-9184).

The following information complements and supplements this document. The information is intended to help explain this policy and is not an all-inclusive list of policies, procedures, laws and requirements.

7.2 Related Procedure

7.3 Related Form

Probationary Appraisal Form

7.4 Frequently Asked Questions


7.5 Other Related Information


Policy Owner and Contact(s)

Policy Owner: Vice President for Human Resources

Policy Approved by: Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

Contact Information:

Director of Recruitment and Staffing Operations Email 401-863-3175

Policy History

Policy Issue Date:

Policy Effective Date:

Policy Update/Review Summary:

Section 3.0 of this policy was updated to state employees must complete their Probationary Period before transferring to another position in the University. Policy versions superseded by this policy: 

  • Employment Probationary Periods Policy (POL 08.20.01), Effective Date: February, 21, 2020
  • Probationary Periods (20.062), Revision Date: January 30, 2019