By Susan Gitonga
The decision to pay Interns in majority of Kenyan firms and organizations is often done on arbitrary terms. However, there needs to be a deeper understanding on who an intern is in your organization and their definitive roles.
Paid Internships VS Unpaid internship- A Demystified Approach
The rights of an intern depend entirely on their employment status. If an intern is classed as a worker, then they are normally due the national Minimum Wage.
Internships are sometimes referred to as work placements or work experience. These terms unfortunately have no legal terms status on their own.
The rights interns have depend on their employment status. This is if they are classed as:
a) A Worker
b) A Volunteer
c) An employee
A worker is a person who has a contract or other arrangement to do work or services personally for a reward. (the contract doesn’t have to be in written form)
A Volunteer does not have a contract of employment, and is not entitled to the same rights as an employee or worker.
An employee is someone who works under an employment contract, which is an agreement that sets out an employee’s employment conditions, rights, responsibilities and duties.
Intern Rights To The National Minimum Wage
An intern who does regular paid work for an employer may qualify as an employee and become eligible for employment rights. An intern is also entitled to the National minimum wage if they count as a worker, and an employer cannot avoid paying them the National Minimum Wage. An intern is classified as a worker and is due the minimum wage if they are promised a contract of future work.
Situations Where Interns Are Not Due The National Minimum Wage
School work experience placements/attachments.
An intern who is joining a company to gain work experience, and is still in school is not entitled to the minimum wage.
Students required to do an internship for less than 6 months as part of their highest education course are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage.
If the Interns are working for charity and (or) a voluntary organization, they are not entitled to the minimum wage.
If the interns working voluntarily are given limited benefits such as reasonable transport allowance or lunch allowance, they are not entitled to pay.
If an internship only involves shadowing an employee, where no work is carried out by the intern and they are only observing, the employer does not have to pay the minimum wage.
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Got questions or comments? Leave them below. Susan is a Communications Officer at Career Point Kenya. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org