What is a work trial and when is it okay?

Illustrative representation of What is a work trial and when is it okay?

As part of the recruitment process, employers might ask you to come into the business and do a short unpaid work trial to demonstrate your abilities and suitability for the position.

That’s okay, provided the work trial is only for as long as needed to demonstrate the skills required for the job and is not productive work. This depends on the type and complexity of the work but could range from an hour to one short shift.

1. Know your rights

Some unpaid work trials may take advantage of young job seekers. The best way to protect yourself is to know what’s legal and what’s not. Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website and search ‘unpaid trials’ for more information.

2. If in doubt, ask!

An employer should always give you clear information about what you can expect during a work trial, as well as whether you’ll be paid. Don’t assume you will be paid for work that you carry out. It’s always okay to check.

Watch this video from the Fair Work Ombudsman exploring When it is and is not okay to complete unpaid work, such as volunteering or interning.

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