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%
jamesas
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#61
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#61
I have mixed feelings on this. Early on, I worked unpaid for a few months at a university during school holidays, and that was very valuable (after I graduated, I came back and worked there again for a decent salary, too) - that shouldn't be banned!

At the other end of the scale, getting someone to work one or more entire shifts without any payment as a "trial" is just a con. Anything over, say, an hour should at least attract minimum wage, particularly if it's low-skilled stuff. (Going for a job as a chef/baker, "ok, here's the kitchen and ingredients, make us X, Y and Z to prove you can do it", fair enough ... Flip burgers or wait tables for 6 hours? Forget it.)
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drbluebox
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#62
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#62
I have a job coach at the minute who put me on "work trials" or what should be called work experience, first was a day in a office and I was told beforehand I would be shown around the site, shown what the company does etc ended up me just being told to go through files and make sure clients had paid and tick if they had and make some id cards for trainees.

Another was me being told it was just to be shown what the job was and walked in door, given a knife and walked to a cage and told to stack shelves, not even a thank you at end of 5 hour shift in fact I was told I had to thank them for the experience.

And that triggered my ESA assessment as they found out about it and saying if I can do work trials it means I am fit for work!!!

Fantastic system there, it punishes people on benefits who want to work.
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drbluebox
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#63
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#63
(Original post by LsDad)
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
I know someone who has 2 degrees but comes from poor area, did work 3 zero hour jobs at one point and is in their late 40s and worked for years so plenty of experience.

They were out of work for over a year.

I have worked in the media industry before I started uni i.e radio station, newspaper, tv station doing actual reporting (not on camera just written)

I have worked in factories, call centres, supermarkets.

Despite that I have been out of work for a while.

So tell me why I should do unpaid work despite being experienced even more so when the benefits I get barely cover the bills and those bills would be higher when doing the unpaid work.
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LsDad
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#64
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#64
(Original post by drbluebox)
I have worked in factories, call centres, supermarkets.

Despite that I have been out of work for a while.

So tell me why I should do unpaid work despite being experienced even more so when the benefits I get barely cover the bills and those bills would be higher when doing the unpaid work.
Hi

Sure, I will give it you straight but you might not like my answer:-

The longer you remain unemployed the less attractive you become to an employer. If I personally read your CV if I'm honest I would think, out of work this long, are they really trying or just comfortable on benefits? Have they lost the work ethic?

If you are employed you stand a significantly stronger chance of being recruited elsewhere. That's the reality.

Employers want to think the candidate is someone that really wants to join them and add value, they don't want someone who is "just looking for a job"

There are "just jobs" everywhere, it's just you don't want to do them! This is because your on benefits, managing, and you want a job at a financial level above your benefits yet in reality if you proved to an employer you could work hard and make a difference to that business the money would ultimately follow you.

If you really want to make changes, yes review the sort of work you want to do that you could excel in, take a job in that vertical offer to do it FOC if you have to then show true passion for the work, if you are not offered a position after the free period it's on your Cv and you can say to any other emplyer, it was difficult to get a break in my desired industry but your that passionate about the industry you took the work FOC to get back in on that career path - that would impress any company

Far better to do above than applying for any old job, not doing anything, not even any charity or voluntary work, just sitting idle claiming benefits and moaning about job prospects - do something about it! It's 100% in your hands!
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drbluebox
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#65
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#65
(Original post by LsDad)
Hi

Sure, I will give it you straight but you might not like my answer:-

The longer you remain unemployed the less attractive you become to an employer. If I personally read your CV if I'm honest I would think, out of work this long, are they really trying or just comfortable on benefits? Have they lost the work ethic?

If you are employed you stand a significantly stronger chance of being recruited elsewhere. That's the reality.

Employers want to think the candidate is someone that really wants to join them and add value, they don't want someone who is "just looking for a job"

There are "just jobs" everywhere, it's just you don't want to do them! This is because your on benefits, managing, and you want a job at a financial level above your benefits yet in reality if you proved to an employer you could work hard and make a difference to that business the money would ultimately follow you.

If you really want to make changes, yes review the sort of work you want to do that you could excel in, take a job in that vertical offer to do it FOC if you have to then show true passion for the work, if you are not offered a position after the free period it's on your Cv and you can say to any other emplyer, it was difficult to get a break in my desired industry but your that passionate about the industry you took the work FOC to get back in on that career path - that would impress any company

Far better to do above than applying for any old job, not doing anything, not even any charity or voluntary work, just sitting idle claiming benefits and moaning about job prospects - do something about it! It's 100% in your hands!
I think you have (no offense) ignorant experience

So my friend with a engineering degree who was rejected for cleaning and gardening jobs was because he didn't want to oh and he did a lot of volunteer work that gave him qualifications on top.

He eventually found NMW work and was treated like a slave, the entire workforce at his job complained about conditions and were told make official complaint and be fired.

"work ethic" is broad term, I have another friend who is now 32 in his entire adult life apart from 6 months when he moved home after college to a place in middle of nowhere (literally his nearest neighbour was 6 miles away and nearest town was 20 miles) he had no work. I left him sleep on my sofa and he got a job the next day after that, he worked despite suffering physical and mental breakdown due to his mother and brother dying, him having stroke and seizures and his employer refusing to let him come back and was out of work for a year before doing a 8 hour a week job.

That was down to health reasons but his mental state is now like a child he gets confused easily and slurs his speech.

Back to the ignorant comment I am from a ex mining and factory town, to say work is available shows either ignorance or if 1 job existed and 3000 unemployed you could claim work was available.

And yes that area had 3000 unemployed and 1 full time job when I checked, and no zero hour or part time work advertised at jobcentre, all 3 local factories now exclusively hire EU migrants and dropped wages from £9 a hour at its peak to NMW around the recession

Its becoming more and more a ghost town.

Kinda big headed assuming people who don't have jobs dont want to work.

I bet you would say if someone was given 4 hours a week work and zero benefits like housing benefit at all they should take it over being on benefits even if it meant they literally starved and had to walk miles to work every day.

Im on ESA and DLA by the way, because I have DISABILITIES!!!!!!

Your ignorance of health issues is shocking too even more when I mentioned part of my work history which required commitment or do you think being accepted out of thousands of applicants for radio and newspaper work meant I was lazy?! That my work was published?!

The places I lived really were hard to find work, I always remember aged 17 being rejected for glass collecting work but offered the same job for £1 a hour as a apprentice, so their own words were I wasn't good enough to do it for a normal wage but the same job word for word I was if it was far cheaper!

And I well know its easier to get interviews when employed when I applied for other jobs when I was working I was never once not given a interview.

I even rejected jobs when I was at university as the employer wanted me to do full time only.

So tell me, when people do volunteer work, have a proven employment history sometimes a decade, two or even three but lost job due to recession and out of work for a while how can they be a bad employee? I lost my last two jobs as the company went bust thats it I even got monthly letters of praise from the bosses for going 2-8 times OVER the quota per month when others couldn't even meet it. I hated that job as it was NMW and my wages were so bad I was lucky if after I paid rent, council tax, and travel I was left with £15 a week for food, utilities, save for university

And though I personally am on ESA/DLA now its only because my health deteriorated as the government refused to help me when I was in my greatest need even at one point cutting funding for a course when they came to power that gave me a job paying over 20 grand a year aimed at people with my disabilities, so its their fault I am still on benefits now.

That person that did 3 zero hour jobs to pay ends meet despite having 2 degrees and decades of work experience behind them then lost them just didn't want to work? I guess thats why they travelled 20 miles each way every day to do the "training course" the DWP sent them on and refused to pay their expenses and it involved basic numeracy and even personal hygine! So someone with 2 degrees one from a very high ranking university just didn't want to work? Oh and they also have a heart defect and have collapsed in past so despite all that they put with that.

Its more likely they were the victim of age discrimination.

What about a friend I know who loved design and video games and studied programming at university then spent a few years after graduating in temp contracts in IT then starting his own business sadly the same year as the recession and going bankrupt and been unemployed ever since?

Sometimes work is just not there, or employers know they have such a high supply of applicants, why hire someone with good qualifications and experience who may leave for a better job? Than someone who is so desperate to work they will put up with what is close to abuse.

My relatives who live near London have so much work available that one even got a payment when fired so he didn't go straight back to work, they all claim theres no such thing as work being hard to find.

On the other hand I know from experience that it depends where you live, when I lived near cities work was "easy" to find but didn't mean I wasn't rejected, other times the work wasn't there in the first place to apply in towns.

And im not young, im old enough that I could of had a child of university age, and I myself have years of work experience.

The "why should I" comment was meant to apply to everyone not myself, I volunteer in IT though the charity has zero paid staff and abuses the system I do it for my CV and for the routine but I shouldn't be forced to go there because im on benefits.

People should not be punished because they are on benefits, if work is available the person should be paid for it, and thats actual pay not their benefits as it means one less paid job about as employers know they can get free labour

IF say a job like a local tech support company became available I wouldn't mind doing unpaid part time work there to prove I can do the job as long as I got something out of it such as a qualification that can be used to prove I have the skills and ability.
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AliceWallace
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#66
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#66
it should be banned because it's your time that you will not get back.
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S McDonald MP
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#67
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#67
Many thanks for your feedback so far. I'd like to address a few points about the Bill that link to what has been discussed here:

I've had some people share similar sentiments about the circumstances and length of time of the work trial, both here and in meetings I've had. My Bill will ensure all trial shifts are paid. I think the public mood has shifted so much, particularly now with the economic situation we are in, that people would expect to be paid where they apply their skills. The Bill will define what a trial shift is, and also aim to make it clear the differences between a trial shift and demonstration.

On volunteering and work experiences opportunities there is a wee bit of overlap on this issue, but I believe a separate Bill would need to be required. The House of Lords has put down, and is currently debating, a Bill on unpaid internships. Where there is genuine work experience or volunteering opportunities, that an individual willingly puts themselves forward for, also needs to be considered as part of the Bill to ensure such opportunities are not lost.

Please do continue to add in your opinions, and I shall continue to monitor and respond in regards to how they inform my Bill.
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Tan13orange
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#68
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#68
There can be arguments made for work trials, such as the employee seeing what they would be signing up to. In other words, getting to know co-workers and indeed the managers/owners of the business.
However, even when you are volunteering you get reimbursed for your travel expenses and in some cases, get reimbursed for food.
On any sort of work trial, the manager(s)/owners and probably any co-workers are most likely to be on the best behaviour, so you are not going to get the whole picture of what it is like to work there.
Saying that though, the way work trials are frequently used in the UK is to get work from someone without paying them anything, not reimbursing them for their time in any way. This is just plain wrong.
Also, what is a work trial supposed to prove, what is is meant to show? Unless there are very clear guidelines about what the 'trial' is supposed to show, that an interview could not, it is just exploitative.
Even at an assessment centre scenario there are supposed to be guidelines about what is being 'tested', what is being assessed.
All in all, I think that 'work trials', especially those as espoused by the DWP are wrong, they destroy confidence, especially when it does not lead to a job (then all the questions are asked by DWP as to whether you worked hard enough, whether you did everything you were asked, in other words, whether you lay down on the floor and allowed people to walk all over you in your desperation to find a job) not build it, and are simply a way of certain employers gaining access to labour that they do not have to fork out for.
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Farchitect
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#69
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#69
When I was 18 and at sixth form I had to work an entire 8 hour shift unpaid as a trial. I was offered the job afterwards. This was for a well-known fast food chain, and it was totally unneeded, the job was extremely easy, it was simply to get free labour.
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ScottishBrexitor
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#70
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#70
(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 did an unpaid trial shift for a hotel in Glasgow City Centre and didn't even get a call back.
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jazz_xox_
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#71
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#71
I was asked to do 2 trial unpaid shifts- one 4 hours and one 7 hours! They then asked me to do a third and I pulled the job application

- Have you been asked to work an unpaid trial shift? yes
- After completing it, were you offered the job? no, withdrew application due to being asked to do another shift
- Do you feel that students are particularly affected by this issue? yes, believe it is somewhat to help the business/whoevers offering the job- in my case I later found out that the shifts I was doing were the shifts of an employee who had recently left
- Do you think it is fair to ask someone to work an unpaid trial shift? no longer than 4 hours IMO
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S McDonald MP
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#72
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#72
Thank you all for your comments.

It is my view all work should be paid fairly and properly, which is why the practice of exploitative, unpaid trial shifts must come to an end. If people are going to be offered a trial period, where they apply their skills in the hope of securing a job, then they should be paid for their work during that period – whether or not a full offer of employment is made.

My Bill will ensure all trial shifts are paid. I think the public mood has shifted so much, particularly now with the economic situation we are in, that people would expect to be paid where they apply their skills. The Bill will define what a trial shift is, and also aim to make it clear the differences between a trial shift and demonstration.

The private member’s Bill I have brought forward has received the support of the STUC, NUS, and the Better than Zero campaign – who are to be commended for the excellent work they have done in documenting and challenging exploitative work practices in different industries.

I very much look forward to continuing my work with trade unions, the NUS, employers and colleagues from other political parties in drafting my Bill and ending this exploitative practice within our economy. People trying to secure work deserve to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect - and have full protection of the law to ensure they are not exploited.
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Official House of Commons
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#73
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#73
Thank you for all of your comments! Even though Stewart will no longer be able to respond, please do feel free to continue this discussion. We'll keep the thread open so that we can update you with the Bill's progress.

You can find out more about how a Bill becomes law here or do let us know if you have any questions.
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Aston University
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#74
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#74
Great to see Stewart using TSR to interact with students.

I've completed a unpaid trial shift but I would always say no if asked again that situation.

It is very easy for employers to exploit young teens, who perhaps haven't had a job before, to make them think this is a norm with getting jobs.

If you do work, you should get paid... especially at an age where 9 times out of 10, you get paid pennies (£4.05 per hour for under 18s).

^Kam
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Firefox100th
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#75
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#75
I am currently working but I don't have a contact I am getting paid but it is a 3 month probation before I get a contract for a permanent job it is a worry for me because I don't know if I will have a job at the end of it I have a mortgage and it isn't fare to me I have no contract and no rights but they have paid me and I did get a wage slip so at least it is looking promising.
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Official House of Commons
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#76
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#76
MPs are debating the Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill in the House of Commons.

You can watch on Parliament TV.
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Danster11
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#77
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#77
Or they just weren't impressed
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Danster11
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#78
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#78
That's how it works every where.
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Darlene922
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#79
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#79
I was asked to do a trail at PS Kitchen in NY a few wks after my initial interview..called at 3pm to try and make it there by 5pm (had to travel from Orange NJ to New York on a weekend train/bus schedule) I got there on time, and was asked to do the Pantry Cook position, where I was being trained by. SERVER to do the job, while the Exc Chef helped on the LINE..this was my 1st time doing a trail in NY, bcuz I’m just starting to look for a permanent job in NY, so I was very excited to do it, (thinking I would be hired) afterwards I was told “they’d be in touch”..that was a few wks ago, haven’t heard from them...just recently did another PAID TRAIL, and realized from the Chef that I had been USED to work the shift FOR FREE, at that restaurant bcuz they had NO ONE else to do the job for that day...It was VERY UNFAIR of them to do that to me..I’m only now understanding the gist of the restaurant business, bcuz I’m more experienced in corporate dining and their hiring process...I THINK I SHOULDVE BEEN PAID
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Cast Iron
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#80
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#80
(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 can work if used appropriately in certain situations. The problem is that employers seem to think of nothing but their profit margins these days, so they see it as a good source of free labour rather than something to be used sparingly. Why bother hiring someone when they can just get the jobcentre to send someone new along every week for free?
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