Resource Center for Addressing and Resolving Poor Performance
Do I have to give a probationary/trial employee an opportunity to improve?
No. The law and regulations specifically exclude probationary/trial employees from the procedures that require the use of an opportunity to improve. This exclusion is because the entire probationary period is similar to an opportunity period. These employees should receive closer supervision, instruction, and training as needed during the first year of their employment.
What happens when a within-grade increase comes due right in the middle of an opportunity period?
Technically, the within-grade increase determination is based on the most recent rating of record as long as it was issued within the last year. However, the regulations provide that a supervisor, in making an "acceptable level of competence" determination, may issue a new rating if the most recent rating does not reflect the employee's current performance.
Consider the case where an employee's within-grade increase is due in 3 weeks, the last rating was Fully Successful, and the employee was given an opportunity to improve that began last month. You would need to decide whether the employee's current performance has come back up to Fully Successful, and if so, you would approve the within-grade increase. However, it is more likely that the current performance is still below the acceptable level, in which case a new rating needs to be issued to support the denial of the within-grade increase.