Internship agreement - Paid

Published:

Oct 24, 2022

This agreement is appropriate for a short, paid internship, where the internship is not voluntary in nature and requires interns to carry out specific tasks, meaning that the intern is likely by law to be an employee.

What is an internship?

There is no legal definition of an internship. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy guidance describes an "internship" as follows: "Work experience can be called a 'placement' or an 'internship'. Internships are sometimes understood to be positions requiring a higher level of qualification than other forms of work experience, and are associated with gaining experience for a professional career."

What is an internship agreement?

The internship agreement is an agreement between a company and an intern, which sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties. Interns can have different employment status depending on the nature of their placement, and the internship agreement must be appropriate to the situation and reflect this.

When should you use an internship agreement?

This agreement is appropriate for a short, paid internship, where the internship is not voluntary in nature and requires interns to carry out specific tasks. In this situation, the employment status of the intern is likely to be that of an employee and a type of fixed-term employment contract should be used. This internship agreement is suitable for that situation.

If the internship is completely voluntary, short, unpaid and a genuine learning experience, the Internship Agreement - Unpaid should be used. 

Why is an internship agreement important and why should you use it?

Having a written internship agreement is important because:

  1. If the intern’s employment status is that of an employee, the employer has complied with their legal obligation to provide a written statement of particulars of employment.

  2. There is no uncertainty or dispute about what terms have been agreed. Without a written contract in place, it is far more likely that there will be a dispute between the parties either during the internship or after the internship ends about what was agreed i.e. what terms and conditions applied, particularly where verbal discussions have taken place over a period of time. Having a written agreement that clearly explains the parties’ rights, obligations and responsibilities reduces confusion, avoids ambiguity or uncertainty and gives everyone clarity and peace of mind.

  3. The company is adequately protected. For example, the contract contains obligations on the intern to keep information that they obtain during their internship confidential.

  4. It encourages good relationships between the company and intern. It puts a new intern at ease and gives them confidence in the company engaging them. This is especially important in early-stage startups, where there may already be some uncertainty and where the structures and processes seen in larger companies may not be present.

What are the common pitfalls of an internship agreement?

  1. Not having a written internship agreement
    Whilst there is no legal requirement for an employee to have a written contract of employment, if the employment status of the intern is that of employee, they must be given a written statement of particulars of employment on or before their first day of employment that sets out certain key information about their employment. Having a written internship agreement in place avoids uncertainty and disputes, and protects the employer.

  2. Using the wrong contract
    This agreement is appropriate for a short, paid internship, where the internship is not voluntary in nature and requires interns to carry out specific tasks, hence the employment status of the intern is likely to be that of an employee.
    If the internship is completely voluntary, short, unpaid and a genuine learning experience, the Internship Agreement - Unpaid should be used.

  3. Losing the signed copy
    Without a signed copy of the internship agreement, there is no evidence of what the agreed terms and conditions of the internship are. Signed contracts can quickly and easily be saved on the PocketLaw platform so that they are securely stored.

  4. Not having the other documents you need
    This template refers to, but does not include, a privacy notice and privacy policies. You can create these documents using PocketLaw and make them available to the intern.

Disclaimer:
Please note: Pocketlaw is not a substitute for an attorney or law firm. So, should you have any legal questions on the content of this page, please get in touch with a qualified legal professional.

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