How Long Is Your Company’s “Introductory Period?”

April 16, 2011, 02:49 PM

Many employers classify new employees as “Introductory” or “Tryout” period employees for some period of time at the outset of employment. Designating an “Introductory” or “Tryout” period can be beneficial, as it informs new employees of their initial evaluation period and sets up a framework for evaluating new employees. For employers who use such mechanisms, its important to consider the effect of these provisions on potential liability under the Virginia Unemployment Compensation Act. Indeed, an employer who terminates a new employee before that employee has worked 30 days or 240 hours for that employer will not be charged for any unemployment benefits that the terminated employee may be eligible to receive. With that threshold in mind, if your company uses an “Introductory” or “Tryout” period for new employees, consider limiting the period to something less than 30 working days. That way, if a new employee demonstrates that he is unfit for employment, your company is programmed to make that assessment and take appropriate action before assuming responsibility for unemployment benefits. –David J. Sullivan