Employers need to ensure they only hire people who are legally allowed to work in Australia. Legal workers include Australian citizens,...
Policies, Procedures & SafeguardsJanuary 31, 2014
Unpaid internships and work experience have become particularly popular in Australia. Graduates and job seekers alike are looking to differentiate themselves in today’s competitive labour market by gaining hands on work experience. For employers, internships provide an opportunity to attract new talent.
However, there is a misconception that if a worker undertakes some form of work integrated learning, he or she is not an employee and falls outside the protection of the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act) and can be unpaid. This is not the case.
Employers should ensure that unpaid placements are only offered when it is legitimate to do so, or face penalties of up to $51,000 for failing to meet their obligations under the Act to true employees.
Employers should ensure they establish the legitimate nature of the relationship from the outset. Whether an individual is an employee is a question of fact in each case, but some useful indicators to consider when engaging interns are set out below.
When engaging interns, you should ensure that you:
It is important to also consult any applicable modern award for specific provisions regarding internships. In addition, remember that other obligations such as Workplace Health and Safety and workers compensation are still relevant to interns.
By Adam Tsui – Employment Relations Consultant