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Under Australian employment laws, some trial shifts must be paid. While others can be unpaid.

When is an unpaid “trial shift” legal?

Employers can only ask a person to do an unpaid trial shift to see whether the person is suitable for the job. This means:

  • the trial must involve no more than a demonstration of the person’s skills relevant to a vacant position;
  • the trial must only be for as long as needed to demonstrate the skills required for the job (this can vary from an hour to one shift); and
  • the candidate must be under the direct supervision of the potential employer for the entire trial.

When must a “trial shift” be paid?

Trial shifts must be paid if:

  • it isn’t needed for the person to show their skills
  • the shift has gone on for longer than is needed for the person to show their skills
  • the shift involves more than just checking out the person’s relevant skills
  • the person isn’t under direct supervision for the trial.

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