Work trials

A work trial is a short period in work you can offer to a jobseeker on benefits. It’s a way for you both to see if the job is a good fit.

It happens after you’ve interviewed them for a specific role. If they’re not suitable for it, you do not need to offer it to them.

Jobseekers volunteer for a work trial. They keep getting their benefits whilst they’re on it and are not paid a wage.


The work trial must:

  • only be used as a way for you and the potential employee to decide if they’re right for the role
  • be for a job where the jobseeker is the only person you’re considering hiring
  • be for a job which is at least 16 hours a week for at least 13 weeks

You need to agree the length of the work trial with the jobseeker before it starts. It must:

  • end when you’re sure about whether the jobseeker is suitable for the role
  • last no more than 5 days if the job is for less than 6 months
  • last no more than 30 days (and usually around 5 days) for jobs lasting 6 months or more

The work trial can be longer than 30 days if the jobseeker needs more time to adjust to being back at work. This needs to be agreed before the work trial starts.

Jobcentre Plus will check that the employee has volunteered for the trial and that it meets the eligibility criteria.

How to carry out a work trial

You need to agree a work trial with Jobcentre Plus before you offer it to a jobseeker.

Call the Employer Services Line to find out more.