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Unpaid trial work

When you are offered a job you may be put on a trial or probation period to see if you can do the job. You must be paid for any work you do. Unpaid trial work is an illegal  way of exploiting young people who are trying to gain work experience.  Wages must be paid for all hours worked at the appropriate award rate.

You must also be paid for any training your employer requires you to do and the employers must pay for the cost of the training course.

Unpaid trial work should not be confused with school work experience programs. The purpose of work experience is for students to observe other workers and gain experience in the workplace. Work experience programs, including those conducted by schools and TAFE, do not require the participant to perform work. Often these courses are integrated with vocational training courses.

It is possible to work as a volunteer for an organisation, such as a charity, and not be paid for the work that you do.

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» Workers » Starting work » Trial work [Fair Work Online Homepage]


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An initiative from NSW Fair Trading


Last Updated: 26 November 2012

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This information must not be relied upon as legal advice. For more information about this topic, refer to the appropriate legislation.

© State of New South Wales through NSW Fair Trading
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