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9.9.1 Duration of a Work Trial
It is preferable that work trials not extend beyond 12 weeks. However, in some situations, where for example, a definite offer of employment is a possibility, this may indicate that a longer period can be considered. However, care should be taken to ensure that any extension to the work trial will better equip the client for future employment, rather than merely providing a subsidised employee.
Ultimately the duration of a work trial depends on factors such as:
- the aim of the placement;
- the return to work medical guidelines provided by the treating doctor;
- the need for a graduated return to work; and
- the skill base and confidence of the client.
While a work trial will normally be up to 12 weeks duration, it must be flexible to meet the needs of the client and the host employer.
The opportunity to participate in work trial should provide the rehabilitation service provider with the option to meet with the host employer for the purpose of negotiating paid employment post-trial. Depending on the circumstances, this may necessitate either an extension of the work trial for a further short period, if such action is likely to enhance the client's chances of securing ongoing paid employment.