About us

Who are we?

Founded in the summer of 2018 by a group of local activists, Say No To Unpaid Trial Shifts is a campaign based in the seaside city of Brighton and Hove. Using positive, dialogue-based campaign technique, we aim to see the practice unpaid trial shifts ended in our city and beyond. 

Unpaid trial shifts are where an employer makes revenue from a prospective employee working for any duration of time. This exploitative practice especially affects young people in the hospitality industry.

We are not affiliated with any political party. Our supporters come from a host of political backgrounds, and our campaign recently received unanimous support from Brighton and Hove City Council. Our calls for fairer procurement practices are a cause all can get behind!


The Sticker Campaign

Recognise these from around the Brighton and Hove? These window stickers have been given out by our team to businesses that have committed to not undertake unpaid trial shifts.

Unpaid trial shifts: FAQs

What's an unpaid trial shift?

We define a trial shift as a period during which a candidate undertakes revenue-generating work for their prospective employer for any duration of time. If the candidate is not paid for their work, it is an unpaid trial shift.

Is it an unpaid trial shift if I'm being trained?

If the business is generating revenue from your training, you should be paid for this period.

An employer asked me to prove my competence at a task; should I have been paid?

If you're being tested on a skill pertinent to the job, this isn't necessarily an unpaid trial shift. If your were working to create revenue for the business (e.g. if anything you produce is then put up for sale), it is likely an unpaid trial shift.

Are unpaid trial shifts legal?

The National Minimum Wage Act states that all work (including training) should be paid, and specifies different rates of pay for different categories of workers. A Private Members Bill aiming to directly outlaw the practice was tabelled in the House of Commons, but little progress has been made.

For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/calculating-the-minimum-wage#history

After an unpaid trial shift, the business never got back to me. What are my options?

It is sadly a common occurrence that employers neglect to contact unsuccessful applicants for jobs. There are also reports of business who do not run unpaid trial shifts for legitimate procurement practices. You can make a complaint to HMRC who will investigate. If HMRC finds that an employer hasn't complied with the National Minimum Wage Act, they can send a notice of arrears, and issue a penalty. Feel free to contact us to explore your options.


Minimum Wage Guidance

How useful was this advice?Not at all usefulNot that usefulA bit usefulQuite usefulVery useful!How useful was this advice?