Guidance Clarifies Interns’ Pay Rights

Businesses which offer work experience placements and internships can access advice on their payment obligations, following the publication of updated guidance from Business Link.

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) guide clarifies when work experience staff and interns are entitled to be paid. The guidance also includes a worker checklist for employers to check who should get the NMW.

Entitlement to the National Minimum Wage does not depend on the job title, but whether the arrangement the intern or work experience person has with an organisation makes them a ‘worker’ for NMW purposes. Where they are a worker they must be paid minimum wage.

By law, if there is a contract of employment an intern will be classified as a worker and entitled to the National Minimum Wage. Equally, an intern will be classified as a worker if their placement lasts for more than a few weeks, they do real work of the sort a paid employee would be asked to do, or they cannot come and go as they please.

“When a worker is entitled to the National Minimum Wage, they should be paid it and we will continue to enforce the law,” said employment relations minister Edward Davey. “This publication will help clarify this for employers and will also make sure that all interns and those on work experience placements have a better understanding of their entitlement to the minimum wage.”

The main rate is currently set at £5.93 per hour. But from the 1st October 2011 the rates are changing:

  • The adult rate will be £6.08 per hour.
  • The rate for 18-20-year-olds will be £4.98 per hour.
  • The rate for 16-17-year-olds will be £3.68 per hour.
  • The rate for apprentices will be £2.60 per hour.

Further business advice can be found in our guide to the National Minimum Wage.

 

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