In employment relationships today in Cameroon like in some parts of the world, employers are desirous to understanding an employee with the intention of ascertaining his or her skills, suitability, comportment, dedication to work, fidelity and other qualities a prospective employee should possess, usually employ on a probation period of employment commonly referred to as probation employment in Cameroon. Probation period in contract of employment should not exceed six (6) months.
During this probation period of employment , the employer retains the prerogative whether or not to confirm the employment or determines it. It naturally places the employee at the mercy of the employer as to the signing of the final contract of employment pursuant to section 28(1) of the Labour Code. The fact that the conditions of probation confirmation employment that are to be met by the employee remain within the exclusive knowledge of the employer further puts the employee in a precarious situation. While the employee works with the hope that his or her final employment contract shall be signed, the decision is solely that of the employer to make.
UNDERSTANDING PROBATION PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT IN CAMEROON
Section 28 of The Labour Code defines probation period of employment as the initial period of employment, during which a newly transferred or promoted employee must prove or show that he is capable of performing the required duties of the job or position before he will be considered as permanently employed in the said position.
This is s period of employment which could either end in confirmation or termination of the employer’s desire to fully employ the employee, it is a period where an employer “employs” an employee with the understanding that the probation period of employment is subject to either confirmation or termination or further extension with the aim of ascertaining the employee’s ability, capacity, skills, knowledge, fidelity, and any other criteria which are usually known to the employer but unknown to the employee as a pre-condition before signing of a final employment contract.
The probationer is entitled to remuneration but his name in the employer’s list of employees can be described as written on sand or with pencil which can be erased or blown off by the wind of incompetence. The probationer does not enjoy the benefits of employment security like an employee in confirmed employment.
CONDITIONS FOR PROBATION EMPLOYMENT IN CAMEROON
In accordance with section 28 of The Cameroon Labour code, there exist certain conditions for probation employment in Cameroon
- The very first condition for probation period of employment in Cameroon is that it should be prior to the signing of a final contract.
- The probation period of employment must be in writing
- Probation period of employment under no circumstances should exceed six (6) months including any renewal save in the case of managerial staff for which the period can be extended to eight (8) months.
CONCLUSION & RECOMMEDNATION
It is trite that the probation period of employment in Cameroon is aimed at enabling the employer to employ only the best hands out of a multitude of job seekers with regards to skills, knowledge, experience and productivity.
We recommend employers be it international non-governmental organizations or corporations to brief the services of a labour law specialist and ensure all probation periods of employment are drafted in accordance with The Cameroon Labour Code Law. This will guide against frivolous court litigation suits from dissatisfied and frustrated employees.
Article by MAFANY victor NGANDO
Kinsmen Advocates Law Firm
“The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advise should be sought about your specific circumstance”.