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Payment to short term Work Experience interns

I potentially have an intern starting to do 2-3 weeks work experience.  He won't be salaried but we want to pay out of pocket expenses.  Is there any PAYE implications of doing this or is it as simple as just getting him to fill in a form and attach receipts.

Any advice people can offer would be appreciated.



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03rd Sep 2010 15:25

Be very very careful!!!
Too many employers don't understand the law when it comes to hiring interns. There is a mistaken belief that employers can take on people on a voluntary basis if both sides agree - but that's not what the law says. If the intern is deemed a 'worker' they are entitled to the same rights as employees and as such are entitled to payment at least equal to National Minimum Wage, paid holidays etc. Internships or 'work experience' can only be unpaid if :- it is compulsory as part of a course (either secondary school where it is part of the cirriculum or Higher education were it is mandatory as part of the course) as NMW does not applythe placement consists entirely of work shadowing/learning as this is not performing 'work' - if they are given specific tasks to do that they are responsible for they would be considered a workerthey can come and go as they please and have no obligation to actually attendthey have no obligation to perform activities in accordance with instructions givenare not subject to rules that employees must abide by (apart from health & safety and confidentiality where applicable)

So basically if you tell them the days and hours they are expected to come in, expect them to follow rules and procedures staff follow (apart from health & safety & confidentiality), tell/give them work to do that they carry out on their own and without full and constant supervision they would legally considered a 'worker' and are entitled to be paid at least NMW.

On your original post though reimbursing proper work expenses is fine with no PAYE implications but if you pay them other out of pocket expenses such as living/home to work costs it again would imply that there is a contract for services is in place.

If after looking into this throughly they are eligable as a unpaid work experience placement please also ensure that your insurance cover is appropriate to cover unpaid work experience and notify your insurers if necessary.

I come across this a lot in the TV industry, we have very specific guidelines set down because in years gone by unpaid placements were the norm but really they are unlawful and illegal.


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30th Jul 2016 21:38

The relevant factor defining if the intern is a worker or volunteer appears to be the remuneration. Stick to only reimbursing actual expenses incurred and it is fine. Anything else and they become a worker and hence eligible for minimum wage.

You don’t need to operate PAYE on volunteers if they only get expenses

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