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Trial Period

The purpose of the trial period is to give the parties the opportunity to evaluate the suitability of the employee to the specific position. The interpretation that the trial period stops during the time when the employment relationship parties cannot evaluate mutual suitability could be treated as compliant with the trial period purpose. If the employer wishes to extend the trial period and a dispute arises, the employer must prove why is the trial period extension necessary in the specific situation.

If practical explanations refer to the need to assess each individual circumstance and then decide whether the extension is grounded or not, then the first and second court levels have adopted a much stricter approach when solving labour disputes and found that the legally stipulated trial period cannot be extended on any circumstances. Unfortunately, to date, there is no Supreme Court decision in this question yet, so we cannot say “Considering previous judicial practice, employers should abstain from extending the trial period”.

Trial period date does not depend on whether the written employment contract has been concluded by that date or not. Parties can agree in the employment contract that a trial period is not applied, or is applied as a shorter time. Parties may not agree on a trial period exceeding four months.

In the case of a fixed-term contract concluded for up to 8 months, the length of the trial period may not exceed half of the contract duration. For instance, the trial period of a 6-month contract cannot exceed 3 months.

The aim of the trial period is to give the parties the chance to evaluate the employee’s suitability for the specific job. If the employer has not had sufficient time to evaluate trial period results (e.g., employee has been on a sick leave for several months), the trial period may halt. This means that the trial period is postponed by the time period during which the mutual compatibility could not be assessed.

Changing the contract conditions during the employment relationship, usually transferring the employee to some other task, is no reason for a new trial period. Prior to transferring the employee to the new position, the employer must evaluate whether they have sufficient knowledge, skills, qualification and experience to manage at the new position. If the employee does not cope at the new position due to insufficient skills, non-suitability for the position or incapability to adapt, the employment contract can be terminated extraordinarily on legally prescribed conditions.

During the trial period, the fixed-term and open-end employment contract can be terminated in a simplified manner. When terminating the contract, the employer must justify why the trial period results show that the employee is unfit for the position. Employee must not justify why they want to terminate the employment contract during the trial period. Both employee and employer can terminate the employment contract during the trial period with a 15-day notification period. If the trial period results are unsatisfactory, the contract can be terminated on the last trial period day.

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