Stewart McDonald introduces private members' bill to ban unpaid trial shifts

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 17 July 2017 in News

MP said the new Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill, which will be introduced to Parliament on Wednesday, would help stop exploitation of workers

House of Commons - credit: House of Parliament

A new private members’ bill aiming to ban unpaid trial shifts for workers will be introduced to Parliament by SNP MP Stewart McDonald this week.

The MP said the new Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill, which will be introduced to Parliament on Wednesday, would help stop exploitation of workers.

McDonald said: “The law in this area is incredibly grey and with the nature of that workforce meaning that they are often not unionised, the opportunity for testing it in court is often out of their reach. My Bill will make it clear that if a trial period is to be offered then the employer must pay up for that period whether or not a full offer of employment is made.”


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The STUC said it had been raising concerns over the use of unpaid trial shifts for some time, with the union warning that unpaid shifts are often used a source of free labour by unscrupulous employers.

McDonald is seeking public views on unpaid shifts via his website.

He said: “Unpaid trial shifts are exploitative to workers - particularly young people, students and migrants. If people are going to be offered a trial period where they apply their skills in the hope of securing work then they should be paid fairly and properly.

He added: “I very much look forward to working with trade unions, the NUS, employers and colleagues from other political parties in drafting my Bill and ending this exploitative practice within our economy. People trying to secure work deserve to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect - and have full protection of the law to ensure they are not exploited.”

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