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Internship – free sailing or sinking?

Internship – free sailing or sinking? (Last Updated On: July 15, 2014)

A growing number of Australian businesses are using unpaid work schemes or internships instead of hiring paid staff. While the Fair Work Ombudsman does not want to stifle genuine learning and development of young Australians, it is apparent that many businesses are exhausting the legality of the unpaid intern.

If you hire unpaid interns and support an ongoing supply of free labour that would otherwise be paid for, you could be facing an inspection from the Fair Work Ombudsman. Today, there is not a true definition of an intern which is mundane across all industries. It is hard to classify which businesses have abused the system and which employers are entitled to back payments, leave entitlements and superannuation of past interns. This is where the white elephant lies, hiding the small little intern in a grey area.

The NSW Government is looking to bring into force a standardised code of practise for businesses to protect those who cannot afford to work for free. This will help employers to ensure that they follow the right practice and avoid getting into trouble. After all hiring interns for their own learning and development is honourable, and to be a teaching key business elements and providing hands on experience to Australians is blameless.

If you would like to review your current interns to check if they are considered employees or if they are entitled to leave or superannuation contact Employsure today by calling 1300 651 415 or fill out the form below.

*Information sourced via the Business Review Weekly website.

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