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Unpaid Trials

It is quite often the case within a dental practice that a new employee is requested to complete a trial. If you are requesting this at your practice……are you completing it correctly??

Trials are traditionally unpaid and should be for no more than a few hours at most. The aim of a trial is to ensure that the employee knows their way around the role and instruments/equipment they need to use, it is just a demonstration of their skills.

A trial assists in evaluating the person for the role and the practice….it is not appropriate to ask the person to complete a full day of work at no cost.

Please be aware that unpaid trials may be unlawful where:

  1. There is no need to demonstrate the skills of the role or when it continues longer than absolutely necessary;

  2. It involves more than just demonstrating the skills required; or

  3. There is no direct supervision of the person during the demonstration of their skills.

Any period in excess of a reasonable demonstration of skills is to be paid at the relevant rate of pay for the role.

When asking someone to complete an unpaid trial:

  1. Be clear on the expectations and skill demonstrations required – for yourself as well as the person on trial

  2. Be clear that it is an unpaid trial period

  3. Take clear note of the start and finish time to be able to detail timings for your records

  4. Ensure you set time aside to supervise the person at all times

  5. Be sure you only ask them to demonstrate skills that are directly relevant to the role and are critical to be demonstrated correctly

  6. Be sure you can correctly assess the skills demonstrated

An unpaid trial can be very useful to evaluate someone’s skills in certain areas within the practice, but be sure to not have the trial extend longer than is necessary and that everyone is clear on the purpose to avoid misunderstandings.


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