When should companies pay their interns NMW and what happens if they don’t?

Internships provide a useful opportunity for individuals to gain work experience and add value to their CVs. They also present companies with a chance to assess a person’s capabilities in the work environment on certain projects over a limited period. However, what is often ambiguous is an intern’s legal status. A tension exists as to whether they fall within the definition of being either a ‘worker’ or an ‘employee’ and are therefore entitled to the national minimum wage (NMW), or whether, with no obligation to perform work, there is no corresponding entitlement to be paid.

This article explores recent developments in this area and provides guidance for companies offering internship programmes when considering whether or not to pay NMW.

There is no legal definition of an intern…

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