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Employment law - Unpaid 'trial shifts'

(6 Posts)
EricNorthmansMistress Thu 09-Jun-11 20:52:28

Where does the law stand on unpaid trial shifts? I am aware that many sharp managers use this as a way to access free labour (I worked somewhere that did this) and I assumed that they were taking advantage of people being ignorant of their rights, as it seems impossible that you can be expected to work several hours for no payment. Does anyone know where the law stands?

I have a foreign lodger who is looking for work and has had this happen twice. Today it was two hours but a while back it was a full 7 hour evening shift in a restaurant. He has been back twice to speak to the chef but been fobbed off. I would like to know what the law says before I help him to try to challenge them.

GnomeDePlume Thu 09-Jun-11 22:13:35

Dont minimum wage rules apply?

rookiemater Sat 11-Jun-11 08:06:01

That doesn't sound legal at all, but unfortunately I don't have the knowledge to confirm it.

theyoungvisiter Sat 11-Jun-11 08:15:05

Did he believe he was being paid beforehand? Or did he fully understand that he was going to be on trial and therefore unpaid?

I'm no expert but I think it would hinge on this - after all work experience and internships are completely legal and not subject to minimum wage. The person is not under contract and is working as a volunteer basically.

If he thought he was working and going to be paid then I think he might have a case but I don't know how you would prove it other than getting together a number of people who had the same experience of being lied to. Presumably the manager is going to say it was like an extended interview.

It's a shit practice though, I agree.

GreenTeaCupcake Mon 13-Jun-11 22:11:36

Can't comment on the legal side of it if it were to be challenged in court, but it is apparently very wide spread. One very prominent supermarket chain gives 15 day trials to JSA claimants (who risk having their benefit sanctioned if they decline)... over the Christmas period. It's not like it's a short probationary shift just to check the successful candidate is up to scratch, it's an early part of the recruitment process for tens of candidates and possibly only a couple of vacancies. So basically a billion £ in profit co are getting free labour at their busiest time at the expense of taxpayers and jobseekers angry.

There was a thread about it on the MSE forums

forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=1319823

ThisIsANiceCage Mon 13-Jun-11 22:34:03

V interesting link, GTC.

There does seem to be increasing evidence of this - companies using forced JSA labour (and being paid by the taxpayer to do so!) instead of hiring people into real jobs.

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