Your questions answered: For how long can we manage a worker’s poor performance?

By Jeff Salton on May 11th, 2018
  1. Performance Management
  2. Misconduct


Can you please advise the timeline for managing poor performance? We are currently dealing with a poorly performing worker and I’m not clear on how long between each step in the process we should allow?


There is no clear rule about timeframes when managing poor performance. This will depend on the behaviour in question and where in the process you are. If you have explained the problem to the employee and issued a written warning then you do need to allow a reasonable period of time to give the employee the chance to improve their performance.

For example, if the poor performance is more behavioural or attitude-based, something like 2 weeks may be adequate, but if it is a matter of improving how they address their tasks, then your timeframe may need to be longer in order to be reasonable.

In performance management it is most important that you communicate clearly to the employee what the issues are, how they can be improved and the timeframe that you’re working with. It is important to communicate the consequences of failing to improve, i.e. termination of their employment. Of course, it is also crucial for your own protection that you document all meetings and correspondence adequately.

More information about this critical subject is contained in the Employment Law Practical Handbook chapter on Performance Management.

The chapter is full on helpful information, such as how to ensure you performance management is not bullying behaviour or leads to unfair dismissal claims.

It’s a chapter well worth reading before you place a worker on a performance management program.

Order your copy of the Handbook today. The chapter on Performance Management – or any of the 80-plus other chapters – make for excellent reading and reference when you need them.


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