Trial Work Periods – What, Why, and How?

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Trial Work Periods – What, Why, and How?
Nathan McCarron

5 mins

Trial Work Periods – What, Why, and How?

Join Nathan McCarron, National Delivery Manager in Science, as he guides you through what trial work periods are, and why they are important.

Jumping back into the world of work after a hiatus can be daunting. You may be doubting your working abilities since your absence from the workplace and may have some qualms and uncertainties surrounding re-joining the workforce. For disabled candidates, the job search process can be particularly challenging, as sourcing employers with the right accommodations and environment can be time-consuming, leading to gaps in employment. In the UK, trial work periods support disabled employees and other job seekers claiming benefits to navigate these challenges. 

In this article, we will guide you through key information on trial work periods to help you optimise your career journey.

Read on to discover: 

  • What is a trial work period?
  • What is the purpose of a trial work period?
  • What happens after a trial work period?


What is a trial work period?

trial work period, TWP, is a short period of work offered to jobseekers on benefits. It grants both the jobseeker, and the employer, the time to assess and evaluate if the job is well suited to them, their abilities, and their lifestyle. It provides jobseekers with the opportunity to determine whether long-term employment is appropriate for them while maintaining their current beneficiary income for a set period of time. 

Most job seekers in the UK are eligible to volunteer for a trial work period. Once the applicant has interviewed for a specific role, their potential employee is able to decide if they’re the appropriate candidate for the position. However, the job role must be a minimum of 16 hours a week and contracted for a minimum of 13 weeks. The trial work period will terminate if the employer decides that they’re the right fit for their role. Nevertheless, if the candidate feels they need more time to blend back into working life, their work trial can be extended past 30 days, however, this must be agreed with the employer before their TWP begins.


What is the purpose of a trial work period?

Trial work periods offer multiple benefits for both the employer and the hopeful employee. Trial work periods allows the employer 30 working days to decide if the candidate is suitable for the role, granting them time to assess the candidates’ abilities are in line with what their opportunity demands. They do not have to pay the prospect during this time and can, at any point, end the TWP if they feel the applicant would not be successful in the role.

Work trial periods are extremely beneficial for the candidate too, as they give a gentle push back into the world of work, rather than a hard shove. Additionally, TWPs provide candidates with 30 working days to readjust to a working environment and routine,  helping to reduce pressure. Job seeker's standard benefits remain uninterrupted in this period, eliminating the worry of not succeeding in the role and being left with no income again. TWP provides job seekers with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in employment, without the worry of implications should the role not work out.


What happens after a trial work period?

Once a trial work period reaches the end, the prospective employee should have been able to collate enough evidence on whether they think the candidate is a suitable fit for the role. This will then determine if they offer the role to them. It is then up to the employee whether they accept or decline the job offer. The employer may choose to do this on the spot or inform you that they will be in touch within a specific time frame. 


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SRG, and its parent company, Impellam Group plc, promote Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, abiding by the principles of equality, impartiality, dignity, and safety. We believe in equal opportunities for all, and recognise the value, potential, and growth opportunities that exist within our organisation, as well as those opportunities found in our network of clients and partners.
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