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Unpaid Work

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 322, tabled on 20 December 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if she will make it her Department's policy to ban the use of unpaid work trials at the outset of employment in UK businesses.

Answered on

7 January 2020

Unpaid work trials that are excessive and not part of a genuine recruitment process are prohibited by National Minimum Wage legislation. It is simply wrong to exploit workers by setting up excessive unpaid trials.  The law is clear that if someone is “working” for minimum wage purposes, they must be paid at least the National Minimum or National Living Wage.

The Government is committed to ensuring that all employers pay their workers correctly. HMRC consider all worker complaints and will take enforcement action in any cases of abuse.

BEIS published guidance in December 2018 clarifying that unpaid work trials are not permissible if they are excessive or not part of a genuine recruitment process. They can, however, play an important role in helping people into work opportunities, if used correctly.

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