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Unpaid Work

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 35746, tabled on 19 July 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward legislation banning the use of unpaid work trials at the outset of employment.

Answered on

22 July 2021

Unpaid work trials that are exploitative are already against the law. When recruiting, an employer can ask an individual to carry out a short unpaid work trial to demonstrate that they have the skills required for the job. But if a work trial is excessively long, or not part of a genuine recruitment purpose, employers must pay participants at least the legal minimum wage.

The Government is committed to ensuring that anyone entitled to be paid the minimum wage receives it. Since 2015, we have ordered employers to repay £100 million of unpaid wages to 1 million workers.

The existing legislation and enforcement are sufficiently robust to ensure that no worker undertakes an exploitative unpaid work trial. It is the responsibility of all employers to ensure they are paying their staff correctly and we will continue to take robust enforcement action against employers who fail to pay the minimum wage.

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