Employment Law Explained

Daily Archives: 20/04/2012

I Turn, You Turn, We Intern

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What is an intern?  There is no legal definition that I’m aware of, but words like “skivvy”, exploitation, and, less pejoratively, work experience come to mind when discussing internships.

Although there are negative connotations, an internship can be a good way for a person post-graduation to overcome the hurdle of getting the first job without having any experience (and you can’t get that work experience without having a job). Graduate recruitment is as hard as it has ever been and anything that helps people get into work should be welcomed. But internships aren’t above criticism.  An internship usually involves working for no “proper” salary or getting paid expenses only.   However, an intern may be deemed to be a “worker” and thus be entitled to receive the minimum wage, and holiday pay. Some roles, such as students on a “sandwich” course doing a job lasting for less than  12 months during their first degree, or voluntary workers or apprenticeships are exempt from the NMW.