Do I Have To Pay Interns?

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So what and who is an “intern”? We’ve all heard this word on American TV programmes and movies which suggests this is an American term that we Brits have adopted to describe work experience and work placement individuals.

To clarify, Interns are usually unpaid individuals and have very little employment rights. They would be shadowing someone to learn the role, maybe undertake some basic and simple tasks alongside the person they are job shadowing. The duration of the internship can be anything up to a few weeks.

However, what is your business actually doing in practice? Can this be creating an employment status for the intern thereby accruing employment rights?

If your intern is working on their own and expected to perform certain tasks without supervision or they are offered paid work at the end of the internship, then they are likely to have become an employee which would mean they have to be paid the National Minimum Wage and are entitled to Statutory Holiday and Statutory Sick Pay.

So it would be wise when considering an intern to have some guidelines in place and ensure the line manager who will be responsible for the intern is aware of these guidelines and adheres to them.

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