Unpaid work trials refer to the practice of asking job applicants to carry out a trial shift or other unpaid work, as part of the recruitment process. All workers are entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for any hour worked, under the National Minimum Wage Act 1998.
A person is only entitled to be paid the NMW if they are a ‘worker’. The concept of a work trial is not defined anywhere in statute. With work trials the question is therefore whether a person qualifies as a ‘worker’ or not, which will depend heavily on the facts of any case.
An unpaid trial lasting more than one day is highly likely to be illegal in all but very exceptional circumstances.
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