Job Security

The Department of Human Resources in conjunction with the University Staff Council present this ongoing series of executive summaries to showcase the new policies adopted as of July 1, 2015 under the University Personnel System (UPS). We hope this information will lead to a clear understanding of the intent of the new policies, how they work, and how they differ from what went before.

Individuals appointed to University Staff positions will be required to serve a probationary period. The length of the probation period must be identified at or before the date of hire.

A probation must be at least six months long, except that the employer may designate a 12-month probation for Supervisors, Power Plant Operations, Public Safety (Police) positions, and any position where the full range of duties will take a full year to experience.

A probationary period may be reduced by as much as half if the employee is performing satisfactorily.


Probationary periods may be extended for up to six months for the following limited reasons:

  • If there was an extended, excused absence during the period, the probation may be extended by the length of the absence;
  • If performance is improving but has not yet met expectations at or near the end of the probationary period;
  • If the employee requests a disability accommodation at or near the end of the probationary period for a reason that was previously unknown but which may affect the employee’s ability to perform the duties.

Employees should have their performance evaluated at least once during the probationary period and once during any period of extension.

Release during a probationary period is not grievable. Once an employee passes probation, he or she has an “expectation of continued employment” (formerly known as being “permanent”) and any discipline or dismissal can be grieved according to the UWM University Staff Grievance Policy and Procedures.

For anyone switching jobs within UWM or to another UW institution, there is no guarantee of returning to the original position upon failing probation. The employer may allow a return to the previous position, at the employer’s discretion.

What did we have in the past?

  • UWM followed the Office of State Employment Relations (OSER) probationary period procedures under Wisconsin Administrative Code under ER-MRS 13. Probationary periods were six months in length, except that the employer had the authority to set a probationary period at up to two years to make certain that the employee had exposure to all of the job’s duties. The employer could shorten a permissive or promotional probation, but could not shorten an original probation.
  • Probations could be extended for reasons of a change in duties; a change in performance; an extended absence; or a request for disability accommodation.

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