Can an employer require that you work for free as a trial before they hire you?

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Can an employer require that you work for free as a trial before they hire you?

An employer wants to hire me as an independent contractor. However, before he will hire me he wants a “trial period” which would be me working 60 hours a week for 2 months for free. Is that legal? If I do the work, can I demand I get paid?

Asked on May 4, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The person that wishes to hire you but wants you to work on a trial basis for two (2) months at sixty (6) hours a week without pay can have you agree to such in writing and it would be legal under the law. However, for you to agree to such a long trial period would not be prudent in my opinion.

Typically most employers place a new employee on a ninety (90) day trial basis to determine if the employemeny situation will be a good fit for both the employee and the employer.

If you do the work "on a gratis" basis, you can demand to get paid but most likely you will not receive any payment. I suggest that you seriously consider not working so long of a period for "free". I prefer the probationary period stated above.


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