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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 3
    • pmduk
    • By pmduk 30th Nov 17, 12:35 PM
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    pmduk
    Personally I welcome the opportunity to sit in on the work being done during an interview, (not necessarily carry out any work.) it can help rule out those jobs which do not match the job description and helps the employer by reducing the number of people leaving during the training period.
    • StewartMMcDonald
      Verified User verified user
    • By StewartMMcDonald Verified User verified user 1st Dec 17, 1:34 PM
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    StewartMMcDonald
    Clearly most of us either have been asked to do, or know somebody that has, a work trial of some form. Whilst some people can see the benefits of trials as part of the interview process and giving a demonstration of your capabilities may be part of that, it becomes a bit muddy when the individual is being asked to actively contribute to the economic output of the employer.

    I'd be keen to hear from any employers who has asked job applicants to complete an unpaid shift.
    Official User Account
    Iím an MP here to answer questions and help feed into Parliament.

    MSE has given permission for me to post. You can see my name on the verified user accounts list. If you believe I've broken the Forum Rules please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. This does NOT imply any form of approval by MSE
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 1st Dec 17, 1:46 PM
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    Comms69
    Clearly most of us either have been asked to do, or know somebody that has, a work trial of some form. Whilst some people can see the benefits of trials as part of the interview process and giving a demonstration of your capabilities may be part of that, it becomes a bit muddy when the individual is being asked to actively contribute to the economic output of the employer.

    I'd be keen to hear from any employers who has asked job applicants to complete an unpaid shift.
    Originally posted by StewartMMcDonald


    It would help if you addressed some of the points raised, how this is either addressed or impacted by your proposals and any changes you intend to make as a result of the feedback.


    People give their time to participate, and any good engagement programme (I should know, I've run a few!) provides regular feedback.
    • Takeaway_Addict
    • By Takeaway_Addict 1st Dec 17, 6:15 PM
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    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.
    Originally posted by dori2o
    You really do need to write smaller points

    I agree with you on the dumbing down of apprenticeships
    I agree with you that people should not be exploited
    I disagree with you on the use of trial periods, some people are amazing interviewees and could be rubbish at the job, a minimal trial of say 4 hours should be ok IMO.

    An example of the benefit is someone in work trials somewhere and doesn't get it because the employer doesn't think they are good enough....this person keeps in their current employed work.

    Or if trials are not allowed then the employer gives this person a job, finds they're not very good and then gives them the boot....this person has no job.
    Don't trust a forum for advice. Get proper paid advice. Any advice given should always be checked
    • jobbingmusician
    • By jobbingmusician 1st Dec 17, 10:33 PM
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    jobbingmusician
    So - in a way I am that terrible person at the moment. I am likely to employ a bidwriter for a charity and have asked her very nicely if she would give a day or so to the charity before she starts her day rate, to get up to speed on what we do and what we're trying to raise money for. Part of me feels guilty at exploiting her, but the bigger part of me knows that I would be happy to do something similar, and I feel this sort of research is what I would do before an interview for most jobs, but with the addition of being on the premises for some of the time (and I've said we'll get her lunch - which either the charity or I will pay for.)

    PS She has responded enthusiastically and with generosity to this proposal and says she'd expect to do this sort of research in advance.
    I'm the Board Guide on the Matched Betting; Referrers and Jobseeking & Training boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

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    • stuartJo1989
    • By stuartJo1989 1st Dec 17, 10:39 PM
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    stuartJo1989
    One of my family members once had a "trial shift" with a well known retailer around Christmas a year or 2 ago... Think it could have been Primarks tbh (but I may be wrong, so do not assume that Primark are bad here!).

    Basically, they were all asked to replace the price labels on the stock (ready for Christmas). All but maybe 1 of them were told that they failed their trial.
    • stuartJo1989
    • By stuartJo1989 1st Dec 17, 10:42 PM
    • 292 Posts
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    stuartJo1989
    So - in a way I am that terrible person at the moment. I am likely to employ a bidwriter for a charity and have asked her very nicely if she would give a day or so to the charity before she starts her day rate, to get up to speed on what we do and what we're trying to raise money for. Part of me feels guilty at exploiting her, but the bigger part of me knows that I would be happy to do something similar, and I feel this sort of research is what I would do before an interview for most jobs, but with the addition of being on the premises for some of the time (and I've said we'll get her lunch - which either the charity or I will pay for.)

    PS She has responded enthusiastically and with generosity to this proposal and says she'd expect to do this sort of research in advance.
    Originally posted by jobbingmusician
    Nothing wrong with that.

    If you are honest and upfront about it being charity work then its fair game. Only becomes an issue when:

    - You have little to no intention of keeping them on (despite promising them it).

    - You see your !!!! if they decline the charity work.
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 1st Dec 17, 10:53 PM
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    iammumtoone
    I work in an office environment. I have never been offered a trial shift but would jump at the chance.

    I am good at my job but rubbish at interviews. I have offered myself to do a trial but never been taken up on it. I think this is maybe because there are more confidentiality issues when working in office environments (certainly in my sector)

    A point to consider if people are going to get paid for trail shifts is how this would work if they were currently claiming JSA/UC. I can see this putting people off taking them if its going to mess with their benefit payments.
    • jobbingmusician
    • By jobbingmusician 1st Dec 17, 11:05 PM
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    jobbingmusician
    Nothing wrong with that.

    If you are honest and upfront about it being charity work then its fair game. Only becomes an issue when:

    - You have little to no intention of keeping them on (despite promising them it).

    - You see your !!!! if they decline the charity work.
    Originally posted by stuartJo1989
    I'm planning to introduce her to the fundraiser she would be working with and possibly replacing (amicably) and possibly to the Chair. If they approve her she would THEN be asked to read up properly (I think anyone would do SOME background reading first) and she'd have to do something completely outrageous and out of character not to be asked to continue. I know her as a friend and a fluent and engaging writer, and would be amazed if she doesn't make a brilliant bid-writer for us.
    I'm the Board Guide on the Matched Betting; Referrers and Jobseeking & Training boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge posts there. Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

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    • timmy963
    • By timmy963 2nd Dec 17, 11:45 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 39 Thanks
    timmy963
    After my first year at college I got a phone call from them telling me they were contacted by bloke who was looking to take on apprentices and asked if I wanted to pass my details on.

    After speaking to this guy and agreeing to a trail I showed up at his house for 8am, and to my surprise 3 of my class mates were also there. 2 of us sat in the front of his van, and the other 2 had to go in the back with no seat belts and all the materials and tools flying about as he drove.

    He just dropped us off and left us at a council estate where all the houses were to be re-wired. Not one of us really knew what we were doing and all we had to help guide us was some Polish labourer called Conrad.

    The 4 of us worked 12 hours a day for 2 days until we decided this guy can just get bent. None of us turned up for day 3. All 4 of us were only 17 at the time so I'm pretty sure working hours that long is illegal at that age.

    I was also forced by the jobcentre to do a 4 week unpaid placement at ASDA Living which was 9am-5pm, 4-5 days a week if I remember correctly. I never did get a job at the end of it. The jobcentre asked if I wanted to do another 4 weeks, I told them where to shove it.
    Last edited by timmy963; 02-12-2017 at 11:52 PM.
    • StewartMMcDonald
      Verified User verified user
    • By StewartMMcDonald Verified User verified user 4th Dec 17, 3:27 PM
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    StewartMMcDonald
    Many thanks for your feedback so far. I'd like to address a few points about the Bill that link to what has been discussed here:

    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.
    Originally posted by ScorpiondeRooftrouser
    I've had some people have shared this sentiment, both here and in meetings I've had. My Bill will ensure all trial shifts are paid. I think the public mood has shifted so much, particularly now with the economic situation we are in, that people would expect to be paid where they apply their skills. The Bill will define what a trial shift is, and also aim to make it clear the differences between a trial shift and demonstration.

    There is overlap here with interns and work experience.
    Originally posted by getmore4less
    There is a wee bit of overlap on this issue, but I believe a separate Bill would need to be required. The House of Lords has put down, and is currently debating, a Bill on unpaid internships. Where there is genuine work experience or volunteering opportunities, that an individual willingly puts themselves forward for, also needs to be considered as part of the Bill to ensure such opportunities are not lost.

    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!).
    Originally posted by GingerSte
    Again Zero Hours contracts is an issue that needs to be, and is being, tackled with a separate Bill. My colleague at Westminster, Chris Stephens MP, has tabled a Fair Work Bill in which such issues are addressed.

    Please do continue to add in your opinions, and I shall continue to monitor and respond in regards to how they inform my Bill.
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    MSE has given permission for me to post. You can see my name on the verified user accounts list. If you believe I've broken the Forum Rules please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. This does NOT imply any form of approval by MSE
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