14 December 2018 #Employment
Unpaid work trials have long been part and parcel of securing employment. Employers are naturally keen to assess an individual’s employability before remunerating their efforts.
Such schemes could soon be made entirely obsolete as an “Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill”, that hopes to outlaw such trial periods, gained real traction at the beginning of this year. Employers should be wary of the risks involved if not adequately compensating persons, even if they are only ‘shadowing’.
The Trade Union Congress have been particularly vocal about such initiatives and perhaps in response to perceived in-action, this month the government updated its ‘Calculating Minimum Wage’ guidance for employers to include a 5 page section on ‘Unpaid Work Trials’.
The guidance is quick to point out that there are no definitive rules or tests and stresses that whether a work trial results in a contract requiring National Minimum Wage (NMW) or National Living Wage (NLW), will be highly circumstantial. That said, employers offering such schemes under the banner of a ‘recruitment process’ should carefully consider some, if not all, of the following:
A key consideration will be the length of the trial period and too many ‘No’s’ as responses to the questions above are likely to show the individual is in fact working and therefore entitled to NMW or NLW for that work.
You can find the Government’s full guidance here.