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Employment law - Unpaid 'trial shifts'

(6 Posts)
EricNorthmansMistress Thu 09-Jun-11 20:51:32

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.

Meglet Thu 09-Jun-11 20:54:38

The shop I used to work for did this. 2-3 hour trial shifts for potential staff. None of them ever got paid (don't think they even had a proper health & safety / fire drill induction). Only 1 person out of about 6 would get taken on permanently.

Don't approve of them at all.

EricNorthmansMistress Thu 09-Jun-11 20:58:15

No, they are awful. The cafe I worked at used them as lunchtime cover confused so not only do you have insufficient staff, but the staff you have have to train a newbie at the same time! Awful. It's more the full shift that's pissing me off. 7 hours non stop work in a kitchen is not a 'trial shift' it's a full day's work - more as he had no break and no meal. How dare they exploit people who don't know their rights and just want to earn a living angry

agedknees Fri 17-Jun-11 12:06:46

I had this happen to me in the NHS, also had to pay for parking as well, so ended up out of pocket (was 2 shifts unpaid when I joined the nurse bank).

It is exploitation. Plain and simple. Companies that do this should hang their heads in shame.

iskra Fri 17-Jun-11 12:14:23

The hospital DP is about to start work in require 2 weeks unpaid shadowing before he starts work. Gutted.

boxoftricks Fri 17-Jun-11 12:39:46

i work for a brewery. we're not allowed to do trial shifts. in all honesty, they're not great for getting a good all round view of a potential employee. Anyone can work really hard on a trial.
Our company policy changed last year, not sure if this was in response to a change in the law, but we are not allowed to do trial shifts anymore.
We interview someone, then decide if we wish to employee them. They get induction, training etc, get paid. At anytime in the first four weeks no notice is required to terminate employment, effectively giving a four week trial period.
Make sure he asks about if they are paid.
what kind of jobs is he looking for? Is his English up to scratch?

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