The issue of unpaid work experience and internships is often discussed in the media. This type of work takes place in a complex area of employment law, so it pays to understand the rules and regulations relating to internships and work experience. Glenn Duker, lawyer and solicitor, explores these issues below.
The Fair Work Act 2009 outlines that you are not entitled to be paid for vocational placements. Vocational placements are defined as:
- Work undertaken as a requirement for an educational training course.
- Placement that is authorised under a law or an administrative arrangement of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory.
However, to prevent exploitation from occurring within these boundaries, the Fair Work Ombudsman has drawn up these indicators to determine whether a worker should be paid:
- The purpose of the arrangement – the more productive the work is, the more likely it is that the participant is an employee.
- The length of the placement – if it occurs over a long period of time, then the participant is considered an employee.
- If the participant is doing work that is normally done by a paid employee, then it is likely that the person is an employee.
- Who is receiving the benefit of the arrangement? In a true work experience arrangement, the main benefit should be the person who is doing the work rather than the organisation. Therefore, if the organisation benefits most, the participant is considered an employee
This above is just a brief guide. To understand more, please find out more here on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
If you believe that you should have been paid for your work experience or internship experience, get in touch with lawyer and solicitor Glenn Duker for expert advice.
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