Policy Manual

Introductory Period

For all new regular staff members, the Introductory Period consists of the first four months of employment at the University. This period may be extended with prior approval from Staff and Labor Relations. It is used to determine if performance meets the expectations of the position and if continued employment is warranted. Staff members who terminate University employment must complete an Introductory Period upon their reemployment with the University.

New staff members must be informed of the existence and length of the Introductory Period at the time the offer of employment is made. The Introductory Period should be outlined in the offer letter.

Upon hire and/or within the first week of employment the supervisor is expected to do the following:

  1. provide the staff member with a copy of his/her position description;
  2. establish written performance expectations for goals/responsibilities that the staff member will be evaluated on. Document expectations on the Introductory Performance Plan form or alternative form of documentation (e.g. letter, memo);
  3. meet with the new staff member to discuss the job responsibilities, practices, performance expectations, policies and procedures and the process of review during the Introductory Period. The supervisor and staff member should date and initial the Introductory Period Performance Plan form;
  4. give a copy of the Introductory Period Performance Plan, with the completed performance expectations to the staff member;
  5. ensure that the new staff member receives the appropriate orientation to the University, school/center and department.

Throughout the introductory period review process, the supervisor should:

  1. meet with the staff member regularly to discuss performance and provide constructive feedback as to whether s/he is meeting the expectations for the position, determine if staff member needs additional training and, if necessary, provide staff member with a plan for improvement;
  2. complete the Introductory Period Performance Plan and discuss staff member's progress and obtain staff member's comments;
  3. determine whether the staff member meets the required performance expectations for continued employment.


If a new staff member is not meeting the required performance expectations of the position within the first four months of hire, the supervisor should review the situation with a representative of HR/Staff & Labor Relations. If additional time is needed to make a determination, the Introductory Period may be extended by a maximum of eight (8) months, after consultation with HR/Staff & Labor Relations. Only one extension may be requested and must be made prior to the end of the initial Introductory Period. (Please note, that the introductory period cannot go beyond twelve (12) months from the initial hire date.) The staff member must receive a letter outlining the extended time period and areas that need improvement.


If the initial four months Introductory Period is not an adequate time frame to evaluate the staff member's performance due to the nature of job responsibilities of the position, work cycle, and /or business and operational needs of the department/school/center, an extended period up to a year from the date of hire may be granted after consultation with HR/Staff & Labor Relations. The supervisor must submit a written request to HR/Staff & Labor Relations outlining the business rationale supporting the extended time frame. The request for an extension must be reviewed with HR/Staff & Labor Relations prior to the employment offer. If the extension is granted, the time frame must be outlined in the employment offer letter.


During the Introductory Period, staff members do not accrue paid time off (vacation). A staff member whose employment is terminated during this period will not receive payment for paid time off days. However, upon completion of the Introductory Period, paid time off (vacation) will be credited retroactively to the initial date of employment.

In cases where the Introductory Period is longer than six (6) months, the staff member will be credited retroactively paid time off (vacation) to the initial date of hire after six (6) months of employment. If the staff member has more than six (6) months of employment and is terminated during this time, the staff member will receive payment for paid time off (vacation).


At any time during the Introductory Period, after consultation with HR/Staff & Labor Relations, a staff member may be terminated from employment with the University of Pennsylvania. The staff member should be notified in writing of the effective date of termination.

The staff member will be given at least one (1) week's notice or one (1) week's pay in lieu of notice. Termination during the introductory period is not subject to the guidelines of the University's termination policy or the Staff Grievance Procedure.


University staff members who are covered by collective bargaining agreements should refer to the appropriate contract article.


Policy Number: 618
Effective Date: 1/1/2000
Supersedes Policy Number(s): 618 (07/01/1997)
Applicability: All Regular Staff Members
Cross-reference: Policy 101Policy 117Policy 607Policy 627Policy 628Policy 629

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