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Mar 1st, 2018

Unpaid Trial Shifts

By 38 Degrees team

This is exploitation. Ruthless businesses are telling people they have to work for free for up to 40 hours as a ‘trial shift’ before they can get a job. [1] And people who are desperate for work are doing these shifts for no pay, with the hope of a job at the end. It’s shocking, but right now it’s completely legal. [2]

We all want to know that the hard-working people who serve us in cafes and restaurants are paid and treated well. Right now that isn’t always the case, but together we can make sure that people are always paid for the work they do.

Soon MPs are voting on a new law that would make sure trial shifts pay at least the minimum wage. [3] But it won’t happen unless we get enough MPs to show up to support it. A huge petition, signed by tens of thousand of us will prove the public want politicians to make sure people are paid a fair wage for any work they do.

If you think people should be paid for an honest day’s work, please sign the petition. It takes 30 seconds to sign, and we’ll make sure all MPs see it ahead of the vote


This new law is being proposed as a “Private Members’ Bill”. It’s a parliamentary procedure that lets backbench MPs propose new laws, independent of the government’s plans. [4] That means that it’s left up to each individual MP to decide whether or not to support it. So far, lots of SNP, Labour and Conservative MPs have said they’ll back this new law – but not enough to get it passed yet. That’s where we come in.

If enough of us sign a huge petition ahead of the vote, we’ll make sure it’s delivered right to our MPs as they make their decision. Together we can make sure enough MPs show up and vote to make unpaid work trials a thing of the past.

Here’s what Stewart McDonald, the MP who’s putting forward the new law, has to say:

“Only with enough MPs present and voting in favour of the Bill can we have any hope of turning it into law. The influence that 38 Degrees members and supporters have really gets the attention of MPs and the wider public. Together we can end unpaid trial shifts.”

So, if you want to stop exploitative unpaid trial shifts sign the petition below.


38 Degrees members have taken action on issues like this before – and won. When 40,000 of us demanded cafe chain, MooBoo Bubble Tea, stopped using 40 hour unpaid trial shifts they quickly bowed to pressure. [5] Now we have the chance to change the law so all businesses have to pay for trial shifts.

[1] Huffington Post: Unpaid Trial Shifts: Young People Working 40 Hours For Free In Desperate Bids To Find Jobs:
BBC News: Would you work for free to secure a job?:
[2] Independent: MP launches bid to outlaw ‘unscrupulous’ unpaid work trials:
The Times: Unpaid trial shifts are exploiting workers, MP Stewart McDonald:
[3] Parliament.co uk:Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill:
Parliament.co uk: Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill 2017-19:
[4] Parliament: Private Members’ Bills:
[5] 38 Degrees: Mooboo:pay your staff!:

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