Have you been asked to work an unpaid trial shift? Watch

Poll: Are unpaid trial work shifts fair?
Yes (149)
13.68%
No (458)
42.06%
It depends on the circumstances (482)
44.26%
Ganjaweed Rebel
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#41
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#41
(Original post by faloodeh)
Agree! This was Meat&Shake btw... for anyone in London
Never shall I go there.
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BritishGirl
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#42
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#42
(Original post by Official House of Commons)
Tell Stewart Malcolm McDonald, MP for Glasgow South, about your views on being asked to work an unpaid trial shift.

He has proposed a new law which would ban the practice of asking job seekers to work a trial shift without pay. He wants to know:
- Have you been asked to work an unpaid trial shift?
- After completing it, were you offered the job?
- Do you feel that students are particularly affected by this issue?
- Do you think it is fair to ask someone to work an unpaid trial shift?

Stewart will be reading and responding to your comments so join the discussion and share your experiences.
I think it depends on the situation.
Saying from personal experience as a jobseeker I have only ever done 1 trial shift to work in a recruitment agency, but wasn't paid until I was offered the job which is fair because that means they were extremely happy with my performance.

For students it is a learning curve and experience into the working world.
Graduates especially because sometimes they claim that they don't mind doing the retail and office jobs, but then they will leave in a short period amount of time because they don't feel like they are being challenged enough.
So yes in my opinion a trial shift should be a fair deal for both parties.
However in terms of fairness of whether it should be paid or unpaid there is still the belief that if you work hard, it will all pay off - actually literally.
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JoLaw233
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#43
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#43
I believe unpaid trial shifts are incredibly unfair, particularly if they are over an hour long. I was offered a trial day for a 2-week paid internship at a company on the assumption that the day's work would indeed be paid but I have yet to receive anything. That's right, a trial day for a 2-week internship. I walk to work but I am imagining someone having to pay for public transport/fuel on top of this then not being reimbursed at all, not even for lunch.

To top it all off, I didn't receive an offer for the 2-week internship in the end. It isn't just about the money, I felt emotionally abused and taken advantage of because I was so desperate for a job and thought it would be paid. I couldn't even put it in my CV because it was so insignificant compared to my previous employment that it would be a waste of space. The fact that I needed a trial day when I had over a year's experience already should have been a red flag for me to be honest.

I am doing rather well for myself right now and have a stable job, but I can't help but still feel very disappointed whenever I think about that trial day. I am not against trial days in general as it is a good opportunity for the worker to assess their working environment before accepting a job, I am just against unpaid ones. Even for a 1 hour trial, £7 won't make a company go bankrupt. Unpaid jobs of any kind hurt those with low-to-no income the most, and I'm not talking about volunteering or industry experience as part of a course. No one should go unpaid for doing a job that someone else would be paid for.
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Donna76
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#44
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#44
(Original post by Dandaman1)
It's an agreement between the potential employer and the job seeker and it should stay that way.

In my view, an unpaid trial shift is essentially an extended interview, albeit a more practical one. It's a way for the employer to judge whether or not you are worth hiring. It's low risk for them and entirely optional for you. Nobody is being forced into anything here.

If you feel they are taking advantage, or you don't want to risk paying for transportation only to never be hired, turn it down or walk away.

The one thing I do take umbrage with, however, is employers exploiting temporary free labour during busy periods and not telling the job seeker. You should always ask about their intentions and they should never be allowed to lie.
A lot of unemployed don't have an option, they HAVE to do the unpaid work trial, or they get sanctioned!
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Alex Sande
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#45
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#45
I started my 'working experience' placement during my first year of University. We were asked to find a place and work at least one day, but I ended up spending a year until getting paid. Some of my friends were asking me why I was doing it for free, but after all this time I have received loads of support, advice, some paid work and contacts in the industry. It really depends on the circumstances, some people would find it unfair while others want to gain experience, contacts, etc. Therefore, a certain amount of time doing unpaid 'work experience' placements sound good to me, depends on the circumstances. Life is a pitch.
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MummaR
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#46
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#46
Student nurses do hours of unpaid work with no bursary!!!! And leave with at least £30,000 student loans Something that definitely needs addressing!!!
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mmegan
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#47
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#47
(Original post by Official House of Commons)
Tell Stewart Malcolm McDonald, MP for Glasgow South, about your views on being asked to work an unpaid trial shift.

He has proposed a new law which would ban the practice of asking job seekers to work a trial shift without pay. He wants to know:
- Have you been asked to work an unpaid trial shift?
- After completing it, were you offered the job?
- Do you feel that students are particularly affected by this issue?
- Do you think it is fair to ask someone to work an unpaid trial shift?

Stewart will be reading and responding to your comments so join the discussion and share your experiences.
I have worked long hours for unpaid trial shifts being promised that they would 'let me know', without any response and sometimes ignoring my attempts at contact. How many people is one restaurant getting to do a 'trial shift'? It might amount to weeks of unpaid work which I think is just not fair. It also shows what kind of business won't shell out £20 for someone's time and efforts. Completely oppose unpaid trial shifts.
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Melcaps
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#48
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#48
Exploitative, opportunistic practice that should be outlawed. If trade unions hadn't been active years ago we would still have children down the mines and crawling under milling machines risking death or mutilation for a pittance. Never think most Employers have anything but Profit as their motive for employing you. Work hard but expect a fair reward - from the outset! If they can afford to employ someone in the first place, they can afford to pay from the beginning. They can always sack you if you prove unsuitable - you have no employment rights for at least a year!
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Emma:-)
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#49
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#49
(Original post by auburnstar)
An hour or two is ok as a trial to establish whether someone is suitable but beyond that it's not fair. People who don't get paid during work sometimes go to court so it shouldn't be different/more acceptable for a trial period.
I agree.
I think it's fair to ask candidates to work for up to 2 hours in an unpaid trial. The employer doesn't deserve to be wasting money on candidates who may be not suitable for the job or who may turn out to be crap. It also gives the candidate a feel of the place and whether they would like to work there or not. However, any amount of unpaid trial more than 2 hours shouldn't be allowed.
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username3614714
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#50
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#50
(Original post by Ganjaweed Rebel)
Why did you even agree to it?
they probably didn't know
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Emma:-)
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#51
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#51
(Original post by mmegan)
I have worked long hours for unpaid trial shifts being promised that they would 'let me know', without any response and sometimes ignoring my attempts at contact. How many people is one restaurant getting to do a 'trial shift'? It might amount to weeks of unpaid work which I think is just not fair. It also shows what kind of business won't shell out £20 for someone's time and efforts. Completely oppose unpaid trial shifts.
I hate it when places do that. Its not just with trial shifts either, it can be after interviews as well.
I get that they cant reply to every single person who applies for a job, especially if they have a lot of people applying, but if a person has been narrowed down to the interview and trial stage, even just a quick email to say they werent successful would be nice. And when you try to contact them to see whats happening and they ignore your attempts at contact- that annoys me even more. And trust me, its happened to me more than once.
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fallen_acorns
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#52
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#52
I use unpaid trial shifts as part of my hiring process.

But, they form the final stage of my process, not one of the earlier stages.

So for me, when I am hiring it normally goes:

Applicants register interest
First round of interviews
Second round of interviews
Shortlist, and favorite picked

Our top pick will then have a small trial shift of an hour or two, before we offer them the job. Its worth noting as of yet, I have never not offered a job to someone at this stage. The trial shift really serves two purposes: 1, it checks they were not lying about their ability, and 2, it is a good measure of their attitude and motivation.

Were they to fail, the job/trial shift would then be offered to our next pick.

---

What I disagree with is when jobs use trial shifts as part of the earlier interview stages. At that point its just not necessary, and a waste of time for so many applicants who then wont get selected. It should come at the end of the process, not the start.
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numeracyhelp
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#53
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#53
(Original post by Official House of Commons)
Tell Stewart Malcolm McDonald, MP for Glasgow South, about your views on being asked to work an unpaid trial shift.

He has proposed a new law which would ban the practice of asking job seekers to work a trial shift without pay. He wants to know:
- Have you been asked to work an unpaid trial shift?
- After completing it, were you offered the job?
- Do you feel that students are particularly affected by this issue?
- Do you think it is fair to ask someone to work an unpaid trial shift?
Hi! I have a friend, a skilled social-worker from abroad, who secured her first UK job by offering to work for free for three days. She never regretted it. She needed the work, and nobody would take her seriously. If that were made illegal, the people who suffer most would be the ones on the edge who need to demonstrate their credibility. But on this thread there are stories which show that some employers are being downright dishonest and are getting people to work for free by "forgetting" to mention that this is an unpaid trial or by raising their hopes that there will be subsequent paid work. Personally, I pay people when they work a trial period for me, but often at a reduced rate.
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DataLove
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#54
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#54
Why not offer to pay the individual, subject to success in the relavant trial? If not successful then they will not he paid, they will be sent on their way.
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LsDad
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#55
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#55
I guess by the MP posting here he is looking for posts to support his motion and indeed probably 70% here would be in favour of his proposed ban on unpaid work.

The same question in a business forum on the other hand would probably return the opposite result

The big elephant in the room here that many are overlooking is that IF you follow this motion through you will end up in a situation where employers just won't bother offering trials or free internships or youth opportunities they will simply just turn to skilled workers only. After all, why take a chance on someone young whom may or may not do the job if you have to pay them anyway! You might as well bring in someone with form!

I can see from some student replies here that there are some bad experiences and if an employer is using this as a form of cheap labour rather than a real trial with view to a job or training at the end then some kind of regulation to prevent repeat offenders probably needs looking at but a total ban is not the answer.

If I personally couldn't find work, frankly I would be prepared to work a couple of weeks with the right company to prove my worth. Likewise If my son wanted work experience in a sector, providing it was the right company, trade sector where he was shadowing etc I would support it unpaid. Experience is Experience and it can get you to the next stage in that company or another - there is nothing more impressive imo to a future employer than a candiate that sits before you so passionate about the industry that they have worked FOC for a competitor just for contacts and experience - kill these opportunities and it's going to get a hell of a lot harder securing entry level jobs
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faloodeh
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#56
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#56
(Original post by Ganjaweed Rebel)
Never shall I go there.
they had flies in the back :ninjagirl:
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Cabriolean
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#57
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#57
Unemployment is pretty high where I live. I was unemployed a couple of years back and didn't really have any savings or anything. A local chippie asked me if I'd be okay doing 'a few hours unpaid to see if I'd be ok on till' which I agreed to, I went in and did 3 hours 'training' which was just working under supervision and then did 3 six hour shifts. I expected not to be compensated for the three hours which I was fine with, but I only got paid for the last shift as a 'goodwill gesture' because I just didn't work out. I later found out that one of their employees had been off for the week, so I guess they just wanted cheap cover for the weekend. I won't name and shame, partly because it changed ownership since and partly because I don't want to be identified but that was just wrong.

I think it's different if it's something that looks good on the CV or provides valuable skills or contacts. I think there is a middle ground. Maybe allowing businesses a free hour and they have to compensate for any time after that, but they can also tell the candidate to leave at any time. An hour isn't enough for a business to take advantage and if Justin performs badly they don't have to pay him for nothing because they can just send him home and if he performs well for a day but they choose to go with someone else whom performs better, he gets paid for 7 of 8 hours and the business gets some benefit too.

If they're good enough to stay they're good enough to pay.
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Quixote.
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#58
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#58
A 1 or 2 hour trial shift is okay I think. My last part-time employer would do that, and the majority of the time it was just a chance to show them around and sign some paperwork. It was only if they were completely useless and unlikable that they wouldn't be asked back. I mean, it can't really be classed as free labour if they're just getting in the way and making no attempt to learn, right?

But 2 hours is about the limit.

I don't know if it's changed now, but people on job seeker's allowance used to be 'offered' 8 week unpaid trials at companies that absolutely did not require trials of that length. Minimum-wage jobs in high-street stores. And if they didn't accept them then their JSA of £70?ish per week would be stopped. That is exploitation plain and simple. And there wasn't even the guarantee of a job at the end of it, just an interview for the minimum-wage job that they'd just worked for 8 weeks for a fraction of minimum wage.
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jekkylMeetDawn
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#59
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#59
Hell NO! You have no right to ban any consensual activity amongst consenting adults. Unpaid work has its purpose in fact - and many trial shifts are good way to see BOTH how the potential employee works AND how the POTENTIAL EMPLOYER acts, their business model, functions, internals, and mechanics that you otherwise would not get to see - ESPECIALLY for the more marginal workers.Hecht, some companies and employers many people including myself WOULD PAY to work for because we believe in the work, company, goals, or the employer him/herself so much!
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Ganjaweed Rebel
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#60
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#60
(Original post by faloodeh)
they had flies in the back :ninjagirl:
Their morals are as decayed as their kitchen.
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