The New Kid has teamed up with Australia’s leading workplace relations service, HR Assured, to answer 10 Frequently Asked Questions and facilitate a free initial Telephone Advisory Consultation, so that you can access help or assistance around all workplace relations matters quickly and easily. Get in touch if you are unsure about any of the answers below…we’re here to help!
1. What is an internship?
Internships are short-term arrangements that allow individuals to gain work experience and on-the-job training within a business. Internships are either vocational or extra-curricular.
– Vocational internship: An approved placement that is a requirement of an education or training course. Vocational placements that meet the definition contained in the Fair Work Act 2009 are lawfully unpaid, however The New Kid supports paid internships only.
– Extra-curricular internship: An internship that an individual is seeking which is not required as part of a formal education or training course.
2. I want to engage a paid intern…where do I start?
– Access the correct Award Rate (legal requirement)
It is important that you access the award rate for your industry. Underpayment or exploitation of staff is a major focus of the Fair Work Ombudsman, exemplified recently by the penalty of $272,850 imposed on a Sydney-based media company for underpaying interns.
– Contract of employment (best practice)
It is recommended that you get a contract written up that outlines roles and responsibilities, expectations and other legally binding information. Verbal and poorly drafted contracts of employment can often result in disputes requiring significant time and investment to resolve, even with people that you know and trust.
– Create an employee handbook (best practice)
It is also recommended to have a workplace handbook ready that outlines policies and procedures in your workplace, including WHS reporting, drug and alcohol policies, social media use, leave and disciplinary policies.
3. What type of employment should I offer an intern?
Employment relationships that aren’t ongoing are characterised as casual or temporary, so it is recommended that paid interns are engaged on a temporary or casual basis and this is reflected in a written employment contract or agreement.
– Temporary employment contracts stipulate a date when the employment relationship will come to an end. This type of arrangement will be best suited to when the intern will be expected to perform the same number of weekly hours for the duration of their placement.
– Casual employment is a flexible option where the intern is only going to be needed on an irregular basis or their hours are likely to vary week in, week out. If you are looking to engage an intern as a casual employee, make it clear upfront that their engagement is not expected to continue beyond 3 or 6 months (or 12 months if you are a small business employer with fewer than 15 employees).
4. How is payment worked out/what is the normal expected pay?
Paid interns are employees and must receive at least the minimum award rate for the type of work they are performing within the industry.
5. Do I have to pay the minimum wage, superannuation, loading, etc.?
Yes, a paid intern is an employee and is entitled to the same conditions as other employees, including:
– A minimum wage
– The National Employment Standards
– The terms of any applicable award or enterprise agreement
6. Are there rules around the hours & length of the internship?
If the internship is vocational (an approved placement that is a requirement of an education or training course), the educational facility will most likely have strict requirements of their own. If it is an extra-curricular internship, the hours and length will be determined by the employer/business.
7. Is insurance for paid interns compulsory?
8. Who pays insurance for the intern?
– Vocational internship: The educational facility that has organised the placement.
– Paid extra-curricular internship: The employer (you) as the intern is your employee.
9. How do I find an intern?
The New Kid connects businesses with candidates from our pool of engaged users who are actively seeking paid internships. Find out more.
10. What are some other important things I need to be aware of?
– It is a legal requirement to hold all staff records on your system for a minimum of seven years, and that these records are accessible by the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Auditors when requested.
– It is also a requirement to provide any new staff with a copy of the Fair Work Information Statement prior to or upon commencement.
– Think about what this person is going to need to know for their internship. It’s good practice to induct interns the same way you would with any other new employees by ensuring they have the information they need to settle in as quickly as possible. Do they need training in a specific computer programme? Do they know where the fire exits are during an emergency? Have they been provided with correct safety gear? It is recommended that you pair your intern with a buddy or mentor to show them the ropes and take care of them while they are a part of your business.
If you’ve still got questions and would like to speak to a qualified industrial relations lawyer or human resources consultant regarding your specific circumstances, contact The New Kid for your free quoting reference.
HR Assured is a complete workplace relations solution that helps Australian businesses reduce costs and risks associated with managing people. They are available to support you and your business with any workplace relations matter and have a dedicated team of specialists available around the clock. The New Kid has teamed up HR Assured to facilitate a free initial Telephone Advisory Consultation, so that you can access help or assistance around all workplace relations matters quickly and easily.
The Fair Work Ombudsman enforces compliance with the Fair Work Act, related legislation, awards and registered agreements. They also help employers and employees by providing advice and education on pay rates and workplace conditions. To speak with an Infoline adviser, call 13 13 94.