NAPE member Mike Andrews started his new job as a DMV Licensing Services Examiner I on November 21, 2019. Mike successfully completed his initial probationary period after six months with the agency like all state employees. Nine days after his probationary period had ended, Mike received notification that his probationary period was being extended for an additional six months “due to Covid-19.”
The NAPE/State of Nebraska contract allows an agency to “extend the original probation of an employee for reasons of performance, transfer, promotion, and leave of absence.” COVID-19 is not a reason under the contract to extend probation. Additionally, the agency had the responsibility to notify Mike of the extension before his initial probation period had ended.
NAPE filed a grievance on Mike’s behalf. The DMV agreed that Mike’s initial probation was improperly extended and removed the probation extension from his personnel file. That action affirmed Mike’s status as a tenured state employee with all of the rights associated with being a tenured state employee.
New employees at all agencies should be aware that probation can only be extended in writing, before the expiration of the probationary period, and only for the reasons listed in the contract. If you find yourself having your probationary period extended, contact your local steward or contact NAPE headquarters right away.