toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

August 17, 2010

working on trial

Sometimes Kate accepts a short trial period before any real employment takes place, but she makes sure to stipulate that the trial period is for a maximum period - usually two days - and wants immediate payment for her work.

"If, at the end of those two days, I wish to continue with the job," says Kate, "I tell the employer that I want a written agreement about terms and conditions."

"Without that piece of paper I will not return to work on the third day!"

"Most employers don't mind," says Kate. "It doesn’t have to be anything special. Just a piece of paper stating the terms of employment and I usually write it myself and get the employer to sign it."

“Why is a written agreement so important?”

"Well," explains Kate, "if an employer can get you to agree to work for two days without a written agreement then he is very likely to string out the trial period for weeks if not months if not years."

"Lots of people think that a verbal agreement is okay, as long as you are getting paid," says Kate, "but firstly it is illegal to hire a worker without some sort of written agreement (depending upon where in the world you live) and secondly without a contract it is very likely that you won't receive normal entitlements such as sick pay, public holiday pay, annual leave accruement, superannuation, etc. and will have to fight for them in the courts down the track."

"Of course," says Kate, "a verbal agreement is just as legally binding as a written contract. It just complicates matters if you don’t have everything in writing. And, as a working mom, with a husband in a low-paid job, I have enough complications in my life without an employer adding to them."

“Employers often try these tricks on young people because they're usually desperate for jobs and aren't yet fully aware of their rights,” says Kate, “but I guess when the employment market is so tight it can happen to the older and wiser, too.”

"I'm willing to do casual work on trial while my baby is young, "says Kate, "but ultimately I am going to need a full-time permanent job and I am just hoping and praying that one of these casual jobs is going to lead on to something better."

Read more by Kate on this subject:

  • verbal agreement lies
  • toughen up labor laws!
  • temp agencies take away hassles

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