We have recently seen interns rights hitting the news desk with claims that on some occasions those employers choosing to use interns in their business are acting out of line. But before pointing the finger, its important that the exact facts and figures are known and solicitors are keen to point this out.
The current issue is that many interns, who are usually young people looking for that all important vital experience before securing a job role, are being exploited and are essentially working as unpaid members of staff. If this is the case, they are entitled to a certain amount of rights as any other normal working person.
Another concern is that the internships seem to last a considerable amount of time sometimes upwards of 6 months, towards one year, stopping those taking part in the schemes getting on the job ladder and therefore lowering their overall quality of life.
Although there are many admirable reasons why you might take the decision to work unpaid at an organisation, often it is to gain experience in a competitive industry where job opportunities are few and far between but solicitors point out that in some situations, interns should not be treated as they are being.
There are three points which define a worker and as a worker you are entitled to the benefits that come part and parcel with the package, namely minimum wage, statutory rights e.g. sick pay and holidays. These three points are:
There is some form of written or verbal contract which states the workers obligations to the business
Some sort of monetary or benefit in kind payment has been promised. This could amount to the understanding of the future job role.
The worker has a job role and is contracted to complete all of the tasks given to him
The three points above are really what sets apart a worker from an intern, and solicitors warn that if those rules arent adhered too, there may well be repercussions for the employer in question in the future.
If there are any concerns regarding rights for interns and whether you are an employee or an intern you can get advice from either an employment law solicitor, or try on the DirectGov and Business Link websites.