Labor law question: How long can a trial work last?

Sometimes employers want applicants to prove themselves during trial work before they are hired.

Labor law question: How long can a trial work last?

Sometimes employers want applicants to prove themselves during trial work before they are hired. But what is the maximum time this getting to know each other?

Employers sometimes use sophisticated application procedures to ensure that a new employee fits into the team. Others invite suitable applicants to do trial work. How many days do candidates have to commit to?

Trial work is basically about getting to know each other. The empathy relationship, as the trial work is also called, must be shaped by this, says Johannes Schipp, specialist lawyer for labor law in Gütersloh. Employers can thus get an idea of ​​what skills a candidate has. Conversely, interested parties can get an impression of what they would expect from a particular employer.

When it comes to the question of how long this empathetic relationship can last, it depends on the type of activity, says Schipp. "It will be one day for simple activities, but it can sometimes be several days for more complex tasks." However, there is no precise legal requirement. "But I would consider anything that goes beyond three days to be critical."

It is important that the trial work is not an employment relationship. Anyone who is doing a trial job in the catering trade, for example, is allowed to take customer orders, carry trays and generally walk around in the restaurant. However, according to Johannes Schipp, employing applicants for a few days as a substitute for missing employees is critical and "dangerously close" to an employment relationship. "That's why it's also advisable to clearly state in an agreement that it's about an empathetic relationship," advises the specialist lawyer.

Another important distinction: Trial work should not be confused with the probationary period, which is often at the beginning of an employment relationship and during which both parties have a shortened notice period.

(This article was first published on Wednesday, September 07, 2022.)

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