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Old 24.02.2017, 19:56
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Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

This situation happened recently to a person I know and I would like to ask for any advice from anyone if possible to assist her in finding the best possible outcome:

She was told to go in to work as a "Test job" in which she was told she would be hands-on on that evening for six hours. Bear in mind, this was an evening shift.

Upon completion of the first day at "work", she was told to come in the second evening once again and made to do work. At the end of the shift, the employer told her to sleep on it and call him when she's ready to start.

The next morning, she called to say she could start immediately. His reply was "sorry, but you're overqualified and we won't be hiring you".

She was not paid a single cent during those two evenings, not even food or transportation allowance, and when she questioned the employer, he said that he was not obligated to compensate her under Swiss law.

There is no contract however she has kept all emails requesting her to work for those two days.

The company is Goodies Catering in Zurich and she strongly feels that this employer has been exploiting others in the same way.

Is there a case with the Labour office (if that exists in Switzerland)? Or has she just been blatantly played out having trusted the employer? Any steps she can take to claim anything? She has a valid work permit here.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 24.02.2017, 21:23
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

Short answer is no, there isn't such a thing. Find the Employment office or whatever the equivalent is and see what they have to say about it.
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Old 24.02.2017, 21:36
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

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Short answer is no, there isn't such a thing. Find the Employment office or whatever the equivalent is and see what they have to say about it.
Haha, most of the Swiss film industry works on an unpaid basis, crew even give money towards the production...... I am not joking. On a film I worked on 2 of the staff paid 5k & used 4 weeks holiday from work.
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Old 24.02.2017, 21:44
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

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Haha, most of the Swiss film industry works on an unpaid basis, crew even give money towards the production...... I am not joking. On a film I worked on 2 of the staff paid 5k & used 4 weeks holiday from work.
Haha well that's a small price to pay if the film hits blockbuster status! 😂 my cousin is a film producer and he's always broke! Although his film has taken him to countless awards globally, he can't afford an engagement ring for his fiancé (or maybe he's just saying that to avoid marriage!!)
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Old 24.02.2017, 21:48
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

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Haha well that's a small price to pay if the film hits blockbuster status! 😂 my cousin is a film producer and he's always broke! Although his film has taken him to countless awards globally, he can't afford an engagement ring for his fiancé (or maybe he's just saying that to avoid marriage!!)
Low/Zero budget films are very unlikely to be blockbusters, it happens once in 10 years. Even a blockbuster may give peanuts to the film makers due to 'Hollywood accounting'.
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Old 24.02.2017, 21:57
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

Pretty certain this question has cropped up a few times before on the forum; using the search function and the words 'unpaid, work' I found this;
8 hours of "training" i.e. unpaid work?

I think there are a couple of other threads on the subject, I just can't find them at the moment.
As far as I remember they all also involved either restaurants or bars.
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Old 24.02.2017, 22:21
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

Every one of my OH's jobs (all ultimately senior positions) started with an unpaid volunteer position.
She was confident enough to make that bet.
Industry was non-profit, however not uncommon elsewhere.
It's just another variation of capatalism.
The strong survive. The rest become socialists.
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Old 24.02.2017, 22:27
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

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The company is Goodies Catering in Zurich and she strongly feels that this employer has been exploiting others in the same way.
I've read about this time and time again.
In the catering and restaurant business it is quite common, but illegal.
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Old 24.02.2017, 23:42
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

Test-work is done in many branches. It must ALWAYS get payed.
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Old 25.02.2017, 10:28
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

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Test-work is done in many branches. It must ALWAYS get payed.
not that straightforward though:

http://www.20min.ch/community/dossie...story/12769452
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Old 25.02.2017, 10:45
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

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I was referring to testwork (my main experience there is with hospitality industry - which is mentioned in the article you linked). Ofcourse on "Schnuppertagen" and specially in office-jobs are a different thing as they're more about chemistry and attitude and also actually cost money because at least one employee has to "waste his time" on having the "guest-worker" taging along.
In the hospitality industry many restaurant owners had to be told that nope, they can not cover their bottlenecks by having guys wash dishes a few nights for free!

Last edited by curley; 25.02.2017 at 12:24.
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Old 25.02.2017, 12:01
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

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Low/Zero budget films are very unlikely to be blockbusters, it happens once in 10 years. Even a blockbuster may give peanuts to the film makers due to 'Hollywood accounting'.
That's why I just invested a bit in the making of "The Field Guide to Evil".

https://equity.indiegogo.com/offerin...guide-to-evil/

Well, I said invest, but it's more like a gamble...but still fun
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Old 25.02.2017, 12:12
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

Just as a general info.

Actually there exists something called SCHNUPPERTAGE or SCHNUPPERLEHRE (day or a week's job experience,usual duration one week), and this applies also to grown ups not only to youngsters leaving school and seeing whether the ' selected job shoe fits' as in learning the profession OR for an applicant to a new job to see for everyone concerned (boss, team members etc) if the applicant fits into the team or is qualified enough for the job.


There is no law that states, that an employer has to pay anything to the person coming to see whether they'd like the job. If they do so, it is up to the potential employer, and thus it also separates the 'boss' wheat from the chaff.......


OBVIOUSLY, the person in question of the OP's query was not told about this and in good faith went to do her/ his work experience. Unfortunately, it is sadly the truth that especially in catering enterprises (of any kind) quite a few employers see to get people to work for free, and thus taint the reputation of many other correct catering enterprises too. This has been sadly a reoccuring topic for many years in the Gastro Union news paper, but legally the hassle for the OP's friend would be greater to get some money, than to put it down to one of life's not so nice experiences and learn from it.

So for the next time she/he is invited to work like that, EVERY DETAIL has to be put down in writing, BEFORE one minute of work is done. E.g. salary, travel expenses etc

Good luck!
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Old 26.02.2017, 11:23
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

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Test-work is done in many branches. It must ALWAYS get payed.
Huh? And your reference is?

OP, you need to reach an agreement on compensation before you go there.
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Old 26.02.2017, 11:34
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

It is called stage where we are and it is not considered work, if an employer is testing the candidate's competences and the candidate is testing whether that career choice suits. It can be 1day-2 weeks, even stage long duree for a few months, usually a pre-req for apprenticeship in some fields. I'd still check with the office of unemployment support, they might know the company, can say if is legal or not and can say if that particular employer has a reputation. So - if one wants to avoid the husstle with all this, chuck it under "internship", feel good about being called overqualified, shoot for a better position or simplify your cv. Move on. Good luck.
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Old 28.02.2017, 14:47
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Re: Is there such thing as an unpaid "TEST JOB"

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Is there a case with the Labour office (if that exists in Switzerland)? Or has she just been blatantly played out having trusted the employer? Any steps she can take to claim anything? She has a valid work permit here.
What the employer did may be highly unethical, but I don't believe it was illegal. At the end of the day, while one can be 'tested' for job suitability and this would technically involve work, it's really a judgment call on whether it really consitiutes a test or exploitation and two evenings work should have rung bells for your friend, especially when the second one was tacked on. They made no promises and they kept none - Caveat emptor.

In future I suggest she consider simelar outcome (rejection) first, next time she's offered a simelar test, and if she's not confortable with that then she should decline the offer. My attitude is that it is best to walk away from such prospective employers; if they're ready to screw you before they even employ you, imagine what they'll do when they're (theoretically) paying you a salary?
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