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    • UKParliament
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    • By UKParliament Verified User verified user 20th Nov 17, 2:12 PM
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    UKParliament
    Have you ever been asked to work an unpaid trial shift?
    • #1
    • 20th Nov 17, 2:12 PM
    Have you ever been asked to work an unpaid trial shift? 20th Nov 17 at 2:12 PM
    Stewart Malcolm McDonald, MP for Glasgow South, wants to hear from you if you have ever been asked to complete an unpaid trial work shift.

    He has proposed a new law which would ban the practice of asking jobseekers 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?
    • Are you an employer who has asked job applicants to complete an unpaid shift?
    • Is this practice more common in some industries than others?

    Stewart will be monitoring and responding to your comments so post below to join the discussion.

    You can find out more about how Bills become law here.
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Page 2
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 28th Nov 17, 10:29 AM
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    Comms69
    An interesting concept. Currently it is extremely difficult for the applicant to claim anything back as the law is incredibly grey, the workforce has not been unionised and it's never been tested in court.

    I've had a lot people contacting me saying they've been in the situation where they've been asked to work a trial shift, subsequently told they didn't get the job and then it's become clear the employer never actually had a job in the first place. I'd be interested to know if anyone has experienced this?
    Originally posted by StewartMMcDonald
    Yes, telesales job. But again it was a learning experience.


    I sometimes feel that the government does too much to 'protect' people and not enough to educate them to protect themselves
    • ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    • By ScorpiondeRooftrouser 28th Nov 17, 11:58 AM
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    ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    The devil is in the detail really. When does an interview become exploitation?

    To ask someone to work a couple of hours instead of an interview is fine - nobody would complain about a 2 hour interview process.

    A week of shifts is clearly taking the !!!!.

    Somewhere in the middle is a line that needs to be drawn.
    • dori2o
    • By dori2o 29th Nov 17, 9:14 AM
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    dori2o
    I can understand the thinking behind trial days, but its disgusting and should be illegal.

    Whatever happened to the mantra, 'a days work for a days pay'?

    As I say I can understand it to some extent, but it clearly leads to 'some' businesses taking the P and doing this continually with multiple people.

    Employers already have the right to dismiss staff within 2 years of starting for no reason at all, so long as its not for a protected characteristic.

    I assume that the employers will all be refusing the profits generated by this free labour, or at least giving the money to charity? NO...... You do suprise me.

    The argument that the person might not be suitable doesnt cut it. Thats what an interview process is for and if they are getting staff that are unsuitable then the business needs to look at the failings of their interview process, and not demean people and force them to work for no pay.

    We're in 2017 not 1817.
    Last edited by dori2o; 29-11-2017 at 9:19 AM.
    To equate judgement and wisdom with occupation is at best . . . insulting.
    • Takeaway_Addict
    • By Takeaway_Addict 29th Nov 17, 9:22 AM
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    Takeaway_Addict
    I can understand the thinking behind trial days, but its disgusting and should be illegal.

    Whatever happened to the mantra, 'a days work for a days pay'?

    As I say I can understand it to some extent, but it clearly leads to 'some' businesses taking the P and doing this continually with multiple people.

    Employers already have the right to dismiss staff within 2 years of starting for no reason at all, so long as its not for a protected characteristic.

    I assume that the employers will all be refusing the profits generated by this free labour, or at least giving the money to charity? NO...... You do suprise me.

    The argument that the person might not be suitable doesnt cut it. Thats what an interview process is for and if they are getting staff that are unsuitable then the business needs to look at the failings of their interview process, and not demean people and force them to work for no pay.

    We're in 2017 not 1817.
    Originally posted by dori2o
    I would expect most employers that do a free trial do not use them to replace current staff so actually profits would stay the same, if not lower due to the lack of productivity from the trialist who probably needs some guidance...
    Don't trust a forum for advice. Get proper paid advice. Any advice given should always be checked
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 29th Nov 17, 9:28 AM
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    getmore4less
    Hi
    Yes it was Glasgow Central Bridge.I think I remember the name of the company but just incase I am wrong I won't mention it.
    Wish I'd known about HMRC at the time.I was so cross on my daughters behalf.
    Originally posted by mycleverbunnies
    google maps and streetview is your friend.
    • dori2o
    • By dori2o 29th Nov 17, 9:29 AM
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    dori2o
    Many thanks for your responses so far. It's interesting to see the different experiences people have had with unpaid work trials. It's clear though most of us either have, or know somebody who has, done a work trial.



    This is the one of the extreme, unscrupulous examples of the practice my Bill aims to stamp out. If people are going to be offered a trial period where they apply their skills in the hope of securing work then they should be paid fairly and properly.



    This is another unacceptable example, and if you do suspect that employers are failing to pay minimum wage, you can contact HMRC.

    My Bill will make it clear that if a trial period is to be offered then the employer must pay up for that period whether or not a full offer of employment is made. To be clear, I aim to ensure work shadowing and volunteering are protected from the Bill, and then ensure employers cannot exploit such loopholes.

    I am keen to hear more views of those who want to tell me what they think about this practice and how they would like to see it change and offer people better protection in the workplace
    Originally posted by StewartMMcDonald
    Whilst I think your Bill should be brought to Parliament, I would hope that it also includes the banning of Workfare practices where people are often Forced, by government departments, to work for several weeks/months, often for very large, multinational companies who make significant profits.

    If these companies have vacancies available for someone to work for free then they have vacancies to employ people, even if it is only part time or temporary, and for those people to be paid the correct rate.
    To equate judgement and wisdom with occupation is at best . . . insulting.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 29th Nov 17, 9:29 AM
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    PasturesNew
    Not an unpaid trial shift, but I was employed by a huge regional College, as an employee, which was "funded" - they paid well, but oddly, in that pay was reliant upon the number of learners reaching the end of the courses they offered.

    I first had to start with getting up to speed with their online course delivery system and all the current students (learning 5-6 different courses), I then had to get up to speed with where all the students were at along those courses - and then start to mark their work and give feedback. I also had to attend a couple of meetings 50 miles away. At the point where I'd put about 100 hours of work into the role it was suddenly stopped as another big provider had won the contract and all the students and work were immediately transferred to the new supplier. Ironically, one of the (unpaid travel/attendance time) meetings was the announcement to all the online tutoring staff that they'd lost the contract and so there were no more jobs, with immediate effect) and we'd all get a P45 - oh and could we all return all the company equipment (in our time/at our cost) soonest.... so that was more time travelling.

    I was given a P45 showing my earnings of about £7, which was based on their method of calculating pay based on "students completing the courses".

    I sacked it off after that and never applied for any online tutor work again - as it'd been with a major/national/county council owned and controlled College and all fully legit... it p155ed me off.
    Last edited by PasturesNew; 29-11-2017 at 9:32 AM.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 29th Nov 17, 9:38 AM
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    getmore4less
    There is overlap here with interns and work experience.
    • dori2o
    • By dori2o 29th Nov 17, 8:17 PM
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    dori2o
    I would expect most employers that do a free trial do not use them to replace current staff so actually profits would stay the same, if not lower due to the lack of productivity from the trialist who probably needs some guidance...
    Originally posted by Takeaway_Addict
    Is this all part of being in business though? New staff need time to learn the job and adjust. Its always been that way. It doesnt mean however that the individual hasnt worked hard or that they have not put in a decent days work.

    We constantly hear on these boards how it's wrong for people, especially aimed at those on benefits, to expect something for nothing.

    Surely this applies to businesses.

    We also constantly hear how people in the UK have lost their 'work ethic', its one of the arguments often raised when discussing immigration, but there is also an argument that businesses in the UK have lost their basic business acumen. The basic understanding that the business cycle involves training staff.

    Look at the significant fall in proper trade apprenticeships.

    Not these pretend ones for stacking shelves or answering a telephone, but those in the building trades, engineering, manufacturing etc

    There was always an understanding that new staff arrived, are trained, perform to the business expectations when trained, then retire/leave etc.

    Now we see a situation where businesses are moaning about the lack of skilled staff but yet are completely unwilling to provide training and apprenticeships.

    I appreciate that new staff are not as productive as experienced staff, but is that a good enough reason to exploit people?

    Its just making it harder and harder for people to get off JSA etc if all they have available to them is unpaid work with no guarantee of a job.

    These people cannot claim benefits whilst working, even where the role is unpaid, so its often a choice between potentially getting a job, or having no money for x days/weeks etc, and given the absolute farce with theprocess of ending/reclaiming, which can take weeks to resolve, its just not worth it inmost cases, especially where more and more landlords, social and public sector, need virtually no excuse to evict people.

    The other thing is, many of these jobs weve been told about in this thread are not highly skilled, theyre mainly unskilled positions or positions based mainly on commission, so what exactly is the employer losing?

    The practice of unpaid trials is open to abuse, its a disgraceful policy, and the sooner its outlawed the better.

    Personally I would never apply for a job, no matter how good the eventual pay/terms etc are, where I was expected to provide free labour for the business. That itself tells me enough about how the business views the people who work there. Of how little respect it has for its workforce, without whom they have no business.

    Employers have more than enough tools at their disposal to be able to find the ideal candidate, and they hold the upper hand in terms of employment rights, especially for the first 2 years.

    To make people also work for free, for the benefit of the bussiness, is downright degrading.
    To equate judgement and wisdom with occupation is at best . . . insulting.
    • autumn2012
    • By autumn2012 29th Nov 17, 11:38 PM
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    • 219 Thanks
    autumn2012
    I agree with absolutely everything said below! I have seen first hand good workers being messed around because they havent been able to do a shift last minute, ''apprenticeships'' for a sandwich maker or shelf stacker.. These are entry level unskilled jobs and shouldnt be included in the apprenticeship scheme. Employers hold all the cards, good people forced out of jobs for cheaper alternatives which do not get the training required to fulfill the job description and then leave or get sacked and the cycle keeps going. Workers need more rights not less and not just that but there needs to be a change in employers and business attitudes in general. Its not the business owner that creates the wealth as we are constantly told it the often underpaid, undervalued staff member bringing in the money, doing the job or giving the service required to keep the customers coming in!


    Is this all part of being in business though? New staff need time to learn the job and adjust. Its always been that way. It doesnt mean however that the individual hasnt worked hard or that they have not put in a decent days work.

    We constantly hear on these boards how it's wrong for people, especially aimed at those on benefits, to expect something for nothing.

    Surely this applies to businesses.

    We also constantly hear how people in the UK have lost their 'work ethic', its one of the arguments often raised when discussing immigration, but there is also an argument that businesses in the UK have lost their basic business acumen. The basic understanding that the business cycle involves training staff.

    Look at the significant fall in proper trade apprenticeships.

    Not these pretend ones for stacking shelves or answering a telephone, but those in the building trades, engineering, manufacturing etc

    There was always an understanding that new staff arrived, are trained, perform to the business expectations when trained, then retire/leave etc.

    Now we see a situation where businesses are moaning about the lack of skilled staff but yet are completely unwilling to provide training and apprenticeships.

    I appreciate that new staff are not as productive as experienced staff, but is that a good enough reason to exploit people?

    Its just making it harder and harder for people to get off JSA etc if all they have available to them is unpaid work with no guarantee of a job.

    These people cannot claim benefits whilst working, even where the role is unpaid, so its often a choice between potentially getting a job, or having no money for x days/weeks etc, and given the absolute farce with theprocess of ending/reclaiming, which can take weeks to resolve, its just not worth it inmost cases, especially where more and more landlords, social and public sector, need virtually no excuse to evict people.

    The other thing is, many of these jobs weve been told about in this thread are not highly skilled, theyre mainly unskilled positions or positions based mainly on commission, so what exactly is the employer losing?

    The practice of unpaid trials is open to abuse, its a disgraceful policy, and the sooner its outlawed the better.

    Personally I would never apply for a job, no matter how good the eventual pay/terms etc are, where I was expected to provide free labour for the business. That itself tells me enough about how the business views the people who work there. Of how little respect it has for its workforce, without whom they have no business.

    Employers have more than enough tools at their disposal to be able to find the ideal candidate, and they hold the upper hand in terms of employment rights, especially for the first 2 years.

    To make people also work for free, for the benefit of the bussiness, is downright degrading.
    Originally posted by dori2o
    • xXMessedUpXx
    • By xXMessedUpXx 29th Nov 17, 11:43 PM
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    xXMessedUpXx
    I did during my brief stint at Bloackbuster, the first shift i did was unpaid and a trial. I got the job but quit after a month (and they went bust the month after that so lucky escape really!)
    "Life Is Like A Beautiful Melody Only The Lyrics Are Messed Up"
    To see the rainbow you need both the sun and the rain to make its colours appear
    weight lost: 1lbs
    • GingerSte
    • By GingerSte 30th Nov 17, 9:32 AM
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    GingerSte
    I would actually take it a little further, beyond the "interview" stage. I would consider a law stating that if a job didn't have at least (say) 12 guaranteed/regular hours per week, then it should be paid at a premium to minimum wage. Say 30, 40 or even 50% over minimum wage.


    This is more coming from the zero-hours contract side, but for me it addresses the issue of employees being stuck in low-paid ZHCs without affecting those who want to work them too much. (A common argument against restricting ZHCs is "what about those who just want to work on a casual basis?") If enacted, this law would also include work trials.


    This would give employers a choice. If they want to pay the absolute minimum for staff (ie the current minimum wage), then they can guarantee at least 12 hours. If the hours required are so small, or if the need for flexibility is so great, then the employer can pay the premium for it.
    Last edited by GingerSte; 30-11-2017 at 9:42 AM.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 30th Nov 17, 10:28 AM
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    Comms69
    I would actually take it a little further, beyond the "interview" stage. I would consider a law stating that if a job didn't have at least (say) 12 guaranteed/regular hours per week, then it should be paid at a premium to minimum wage. Say 30, 40 or even 50% over minimum wage.


    This is more coming from the zero-hours contract side, but for me it addresses the issue of employees being stuck in low-paid ZHCs without affecting those who want to work them too much. (A common argument against restricting ZHCs is "what about those who just want to work on a casual basis?") If enacted, this law would also include work trials.


    This would give employers a choice. If they want to pay the absolute minimum for staff (ie the current minimum wage), then they can guarantee at least 12 hours. If the hours required are so small, or if the need for flexibility is so great, then the employer can pay the premium for it.
    Originally posted by GingerSte
    Great i'll take 4 11 hour jobs at the premium rate


    Sorry but the minimum wage doesn't actually support people. It just sets a benchmark that all business try to reach.


    Labour is a resource, like any other. The government is setting a rate at which it can be acquired and people accept it. If they didn't, wages would rise.
    • GingerSte
    • By GingerSte 30th Nov 17, 10:42 AM
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    GingerSte
    Great i'll take 4 11 hour jobs at the premium rate
    Originally posted by Comms69
    Great! Go for it! There's nothing stopping you!

    Of course, if the employer would save money by guaranteeing you one extra hour per week, which would they want to do?

    Sorry but the minimum wage doesn't actually support people. It just sets a benchmark that all business try to reach..
    Originally posted by Comms69
    I never said the minimum wage actually supports people. However, some people are stuck on (or very close) to minimum wage, with the insecurity of non-guaranteed hours on top. That is what this would address.

    Labour is a resource, like any other. The government is setting a rate at which it can be acquired and people accept it. If they didn't, wages would rise.
    Originally posted by Comms69
    A lot of people are forced to accept it, as they have few other options. This is just redressing the balance a little bit.

    I would note that this wouldn't affect me personally, as I work full time and earn more than the minimum wage. However, I do know people that are stuck in that precarious position.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 30th Nov 17, 10:56 AM
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    Comms69
    Great! Go for it! There's nothing stopping you!

    Of course, if the employer would save money by guaranteeing you one extra hour per week, which would they want to do? - Nope it's 11 hours or nothing.



    I never said the minimum wage actually supports people. However, some people are stuck on (or very close) to minimum wage, with the insecurity of non-guaranteed hours on top. That is what this would address. - They're not stuck, no-one is holding them hostage. Perhaps they've had bad luck, perhaps they didn't study hard enough, perhaps they're not motivated, I don't know. But anyone can better themselves, if they choose to



    A lot of people are forced to accept it, as they have few other options. This is just redressing the balance a little bit. - They choose to accept it. And perhaps in the short term that's not the choice they want. But long term employment on ZHC is down to lack of personal development.

    I would note that this wouldn't affect me personally, as I work full time and earn more than the minimum wage. However, I do know people that are stuck in that precarious position.
    Originally posted by GingerSte
    Indeed, me too. But I've done ZHC on the side for a few extra quid.
    • GingerSte
    • By GingerSte 30th Nov 17, 11:05 AM
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    GingerSte
    Indeed, me too. But I've done ZHC on the side for a few extra quid.
    Originally posted by Comms69
    I suspect that in this case, a 50% premium on minimum wage would not have affected you, as you would have been on more than that anyway. (This is not a criticism - far from it!)

    That is exactly the sort of thing I'm trying not to affect: those that are doing it on the side for a few extra quid. What I'm trying to help is those who are stuck on low wages with few guarantees. I think that if this became law, a lot of employers would suddenly realise that they could give people regular (and dependable) hours after all.

    I think you and I are going to have to disagree on how stuck we believe these people are.
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 30th Nov 17, 11:16 AM
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    bugslet
    I suspect that in this case, a 50% premium on minimum wage would not have affected you, as you would have been on more than that anyway. (This is not a criticism - far from it!)

    That is exactly the sort of thing I'm trying not to affect: those that are doing it on the side for a few extra quid. What I'm trying to help is those who are stuck on low wages with few guarantees. I think that if this became law, a lot of employers would suddenly realise that they could give people regular (and dependable) hours after all.

    I think you and I are going to have to disagree on how stuck we believe these people are.
    Originally posted by GingerSte
    One of my drivers was thinking of retiring as he came up to his 70th birthday. He was a lovely man and a good worker and he enjoyed the work, what he didn't want to do was to stop completely. So we had started discussing doing what would essentially be a ZHC with him, it would have been he first we had ever done had it gone ahead.

    But we cannot plan the work. Three weeks ago, I had not one of my tractor units out, this week I have sub contractors out - there is no way we can predict how busy we are going to be. That quiet/busy irregular pattern happens throughout the year. Had the driver in question done that role, he would have known that sometimes we have too much work and sometimes too little.

    We have always paid our staff all through the quiet times.

    When it suits both parties, it works well.
    • bertiewhite
    • By bertiewhite 30th Nov 17, 11:24 AM
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    bertiewhite
    My stepdaughter was required to carry out a "training" unpaid shift at a care home which she did. She decided she didn't want to work there after all so regarded it as a lucky escape and took the view that she had actually gained some experience from it.
    • GingerSte
    • By GingerSte 30th Nov 17, 11:26 AM
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    GingerSte
    Exactly, Bugslet. I don't want to ban ZHCs because in some situations they can suit both parties very well. I can see myself wanting to work on an ad-hoc basis some time in the future (to keep my hand in, to earn a little extra money, but enjoy a lot more free time).


    ZHCs are not inherently bad, but I think they are being misused in a lot of cases at the moment. My proposal above is an attempt to address that, along with the abuse of work trials (getting back to the original topic!).
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 30th Nov 17, 11:35 AM
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    Comms69
    I suspect that in this case, a 50% premium on minimum wage would not have affected you, as you would have been on more than that anyway. (This is not a criticism - far from it!)

    That is exactly the sort of thing I'm trying not to affect: those that are doing it on the side for a few extra quid. What I'm trying to help is those who are stuck on low wages with few guarantees. I think that if this became law, a lot of employers would suddenly realise that they could give people regular (and dependable) hours after all.

    I think you and I are going to have to disagree on how stuck we believe these people are.
    Originally posted by GingerSte


    I think we might, because to my mind there are jobs and there are careers. Jobs are something you do whilst working towards developing something better. e.g. working behind the tills whilst studying for a qualification. (ofcourse some people are happy with those kinds of jobs and that's ok too, but I'm speaking about the ones who aren't happy but doing nothing about it)
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