Are Internships Paid or Unpaid?

An internship is a time of employment that allows people, usually students or recent graduates, the chance to develop new skills and experience in a line of work they are interested in.

Internships can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months or even a whole year, and they’re excellent for acquiring new skills. A university student, recent grad, or even a professional looking to change careers can work as an intern.

The duties of internships differ; some want you to observe current employees while others expect you to manage activities or projects. Nowadays, interns are expected to take on greater responsibility, and many internships call for someone who is undertaking or has completed a bachelor’s degree. They differ from work experience placements because of this.

Are Internships paid?

In the UK, all interns should be paid since by law, anyone considered a “worker” must make at least the minimum wage. It’s worth noting that there are various circumstances under which interns are exempt from payment, which you should be aware of before applying.

Volunteer interns are not entitled to compensation under the National Minimum Wage, particularly if they work for a voluntary organisation, charity, statutory body, or connected fundraising organisation. They might receive a few modest benefits, though, like lunch or travel costs. Students who are required to complete an internship programme for less than a year as part of their higher or further education course are also not eligible for the National Minimum Wage.

Similarly, if an intern is just needed to observe or follow another employee instead of performing any work, the employer is not compelled to pay the intern. When an intern does ongoing, compensated work for their company, they are to be treated as employees. They will be eligible for work rights in this situation. When their company guarantees them a contract of future labour, an intern is counted as a worker. They frequently qualify for both employment rights and the National Minimum Wage as a result.

When it comes to employing and paying interns, many businesses and interns are unaware of what is and isn’t lawful. In order to get experience in a competitive job market, this is how college students and recent grads wind up in illegal, unpaid internships.

If you accept an internship offer, make sure to carefully read all contracts before agreeing to anything. Ask the employer to explain anything that doesn’t seem appropriate, or discuss it with your friends, family, or career advisors.

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