It came to light recently that many employers do not know the rules when employing interns.  It seems many were exploiting young interns who were keen to get on the job training and experience, especially in industries like advertising.  Some interns were working for up to a year without pay or any prospect of permanent paid employment in the future.  Understandably many felt like they were being treated unfairly.

Interns do not actually come under employment legislation because they are classed as volunteers.  However, most industries, like the advertising industry, have a Code of Conduct that recommends that an intern’s length of unpaid employment be clearly stated.  This means that as an employer you need to give them an expectation of how long they will be working without pay and if they are likely to get a job at the end.

In the end it comes down to negotiation power, and as an employer you should not let your interns fall through the gap just because you are not technically ruled by employment law.  Instead look to your Code of Conduct and follow the rules therein.  It will make for happier and more productive interns, which can only be an asset to your business.