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Unpaid Work

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 27th February 2020.

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Photo of Stewart McDonald Stewart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2020 to Question 1951, whether his Department's definition of unpaid working time includes unpaid work trials.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

The Government is clear that anyone entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or National Living Wage (NLW) should receive it. We are committed to cracking down on employers who fail to pay the NMW/NLW.

It is important to ensure that all working time is considered for minimum wage purposes. Employers are responsible for recognising and recording all working time for their workers. However, not all time constitutes working time. Government guidance entitled Calculating the Minimum Wage provides further information.

A work trial that it is for recruitment purposes and that it is reasonable and not of excessive duration would probably not constitute “work” under a worker’s contract. An unpaid trial lasting more than one day is probably illegal in all but exceptional circumstances and would therefore entitle the individual to be paid at least the minimum wage.

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