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Kirk Rice Blog

Interns – To Pay Or Not To Pay….Written on October 23, 2014 by Maxine Guest

Are you thinking of hiring an intern?  Or is someone you know hoping to secure an internship position?

The job market couldn’t be tougher for graduates and internships are becoming more and more popular.  But the term is used in many situations and the issue ‘to pay or not to pay’ is not a clear one.  As an employer, get it wrong and you could be reported for not paying National Minimum Wage (NMW).

Student internships where students in further or higher education are required to do an internship as part of their course, aren’t entitled to NMW.  Nor are students on work experience placements (under 16) or voluntary workers working for a charity or voluntary organisation.  If an internship only involves work shadowing an employee, then again, an employer doesn’t have to pay NMW.

However, in any circumstance where an intern is actually doing work or if they’re promised a contract of future work, then they are classed a worker and are due the NMW. If an employer expects an intern to undertake work, to contribute to a company and have a list of duties, then they are entitled to be paid NMW.  An employer can’t avoid NMW by simply saying it doesn’t apply or by writing into an agreement that they are not a worker or that they’re a volunteer instead.

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