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Document updated/added on 10.05.2019

Topic: Recruitment

Job trial offer letter
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Job trial offer letter

Job trial offer letter

If you’re not sure whether to offer a job applicant the role they applied for, one option would be to run a short job trial to see how they perform before you make your decision. You can offer a trial, but you will probably need to pay the individual the relevant national minimum or national living wage rate.

Suitability of job trials

Job trials aren’t suitable for all roles and all job applicants. For example, if the role is going to involve a lot of complex training, having someone in for a day or two to assess whether they have the skills and qualities required for the job isn’t really going to work. Likewise, if the individual is already in full-time employment elsewhere, they won’t be able to carry out a job trial unless they can fit it in during their own free time (and it still might contravene provisions in their employment contract about working elsewhere). Job trials can, however, work well with unskilled or semi-skilled roles or where the individual is currently unemployed.

Legislative requirements

Job trials can be a legitimate means of carrying out a recruitment process. However, you may be contravening the law if you don’t pay the individual at least the national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW), as applicable according to their age. You must pay someone the NMW/NLW if they fall within the definition of a “worker”, i.e. they work under an employment contract, or any other contract to personally provide work or services, whether express or implied, and (if it’s express) whether oral or in writing. Whether a job trial results in a contract requiring the NMW/NLW to be paid will depend on the circumstances of the case, and these may include: whether the trial is genuinely for recruitment purposes; whether the trial length exceeds the time you’d reasonably need to test the individual’s ability to carry out the job; the extent to which the individual is observed while carrying out the tasks; the nature of the tasks carried out and how closely they relate to the job on offer; whether the tasks carried out have a value to you beyond testing the individual; and whether trial periods are important (aside from recruiting) to the way you run your business. The government’s view is that an individual carrying out a job trial lasting longer than one day will be entitled to the NMW/NLW in all but very exceptional circumstance. If the individual is a worker, they will also have a statutory right to 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave, calculated pro rata according to the length of the trial. Finally, you’ll still need to provide any necessary health and safety training, e.g. fire evacuation procedures, location of first aid box, etc.

Offer letter

Use our Job Trial Offer Letter to offer a job trial. As well as offering the trial and setting out its duration, it outlines key provisions relating to the trial, including hours of work, rate of pay, location of workplace and list of tasks to be undertaken. Our letter also states that the job trial is not an offer of temporary or permanent employment and you’ll make a decision on whether to offer them employment at the end of the trial period. As it’s only a trial to briefly assess the individual’s suitability for employment (and for them to decide whether they want to work for you), the duration should be short. It could be as little as a few hours or as much as one working week.

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