It can be beneficial for your business, if you open your arms out to working with others. You can opt for an employee, a volunteer, or an intern. Here is a little more information on each, to help you make the right, and legal choice for you and your business
Workers/Employees: Workers are entitled to employment rights i.e. working no more than 48 hours in any one week. If you employ somebody, than you will have some form of a contract and their attendance at work is compulsory, and according to arrangement, they will also gain benefit i.e. payment, in exchange for them working. Whilst all employees are ‘workers’ not all workers are employees, and employees are entitled to more rights than workers i.e. Statutory Sick Pay.
Volunteers/Work Experience: Under 16-year-olds can work at your business for a short period of time, usually two-four weeks. They are not entitled to minimum age. Under 14-year-olds cannot work for a profit making company, even if it is non-paid. If you do any charity work yourself, i.e. treatments for hospital or cancer patients, you may wish to lighten the load and get an eager student in the same discipline as you to assist you. In this case, you can supply them with travel or lunch, and this will be classed as a taxable outgoing too.
Internships: Laws have changed regarding internships – mainly due to the fact that young people have been exploited by businesses to work for free, for long periods of time. So in more cases, than not, a minimum wage is paid to your intern. If the intern is just shadowing, and not personally carrying out any work, than you are not permitted to pay minimum wage. If your intern is a student, whom has a compulsory internship to undertake (of up to twelve months), than you are not permitted to pay them either, as it is a part of their learning and final qualification.
If you need to ask any specific questions about the legal requirements of gaining a helping hand, you can call the UK pay and work rights helpline for free on 0800 917 2368. Also, check gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates, for minimum wage rates. (This information in this article is accurate ta the time of writing, and has previously been published in our print magazine.)
Intern Scarlet says: “The benefits I got from having work experience, extend far beyond receiving a pay cheque. I have gained valuable industry experience, knowledge, important contacts, as well as skills for life. In my opinion there are no downsides to this, as I also got to continue with my paid!’