An intern undertaking work experience who satisfies any of the following criteria is considered to be a ‘worker’ under UK employment law and will be entitled to receive the National Minimum Wage.
(April 2016 (current rate) over 25 = £7.20 21 to 24 = £6.70; 18 to 20 = £5.30). Criteria for ‘worker’ status:
● if the tasks you are asked to complete go beyond shadowing and training
● if the tasks you complete are of ‘real value’ to the employer i.e. would a paid employee otherwise be doing the work?
● If you are asked to commit to particular hours of work
● If there is a written, verbal or implied contract of work between you and the employer
Should I be getting paid? If you are unsure about whether you should be paid, ask yourself the following questions. If you answer ‘yes’ to any of them, it is highly likely you should be paid.
● If you weren’t doing this work, would another paid member of staff have to do it?
● Do you have to be at work at a set time in the morning and leave at a set time each night?
● Do you have a written or verbal contract of work?
● Do you undertake certain tasks for the employer
When you cannot claim the National Minimum Wage?
There are two instances when you are exempt from claiming the Minimum Wage:
If you are doing a credit-bearing work placement:
Some UK-based courses require students to undertake a placement in order to pass a module on their degree. Students on creditbearing placements are exempt from the Minimum Wage so employers are not required to pay these students a wage, but they may choose to pay you. These placements are normally organised through your course.
If you are volunteering:
Volunteering means working for a registered charity and in this case you give up your right to claim the Minimum Wage.