The department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has updated its guidance on calculating the minimum wage to include unpaid work trials.
The guidance has been updated to support employees who use unpaid trial periods as part of their recruitment process. Unpaid trial periods are a common and legitimate way of recruiting, however, some trials permit candidates to undertake jobs that should be paid at the National Minimum Wage.
The guidance has highlighted that the current legislation lacks definition of terms such as, “trial work period” and sets out factors that may be considered when considering whether a person should be paid. These include:
- is the trial genuinely for recruitment purposes
- is the duration of the trial reasonable to assess the candidate’s ability
- do the tasks completed give added value to the employer beyond testing the candidate’s ability
- what is the extent of observation during the trial
The key point to remember for employers is that the longer the trial period the more likely it is to result in NMW falling due.