Your liabilityUnless stated in any agreements, you are liable for any individual undertaking work experience (and their actions) as far as you would be for any other member of your team. This includes their rights (Employment Rights Act 1996) and your normal responsibilities around fair and equal access to opportunities (Equality Act 2010), insurance, but also ensuring that any Health and Safety risk assessments have been undertaken and explained to the individual during their induction (see the UK's Health & Safety Executive for more information).
Warwick's definition of good work experience
As a guide to whether you're providing a 'good' experience, we give our support to placements, internships and work experience opportunities that enable Warwick students to:
- Acquire new and develop existing skills and knowledge
- Demonstrate their value to employers
- Make new contacts that will benefit them in their career
- Sample particular sectors, employers and types of work
Good work experience also...
- Satisfies our Vacancy Advertising Policy particularly in relation to pay and where the opportunity is based.
- Ensures that all positions, including internships, are accessible to anybody with the skills and potential to succeed
- Has clear aims and objectives for each role, includes appropriate induction activities and provides appropriate management and supervision to the student undertaking the opportunity
- Offers genuine learning opportunities to the student
- Aims to be appropriate for graduate-level applicants, and/or offer an opportunity to gain insights into the sector, organisation or workplace that would be beneficial, so as to gain relevant professional experience before embarking on a career
- Allows students time off to attend job interviews (if part-time or short-term) or complete study requirements as necessary
Warwick’s student population includes around 30% International students, who can bring diversity and a global perspective to your business. International students may have visa restrictions that differ from UK students, for example a limit on working hours during term time – it is the student’s responsibility to abide by their visa, and your responsibility as an employer to check you understand any restrictions as part of checking potential employees’ right to work in the UK. To see the advice we give these students about working hours etc. please see our student-facing Immigration Service webpages about working on a Student visa. It is recommended that UK/EU students do not work in excess of 20 hours per week during term time.
If you are a non-UK employer, you may need to consult with your equivalent to the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) to ensure that you are meeting any legal requirements around hosting foreign students.
National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage
There are relatively few scenarios in which a student would NOT be entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW, or the National Living Wage for student aged 25+). Please ensure that you understand your responsibilities, including PAYE processing, NI etc, as this is an area that is increasingly monitored and there are large legal fines for breaching this legislation. If you wish to run payroll for your intern externally, you can use a temping agency, for example the University's own agency, Unitemps, to do this for you.
Watch out for additional working hours!
An easy mistake to make would be to employ a student to work for 37 hours per week, at National Minimum Wage, then ask them to work for a few extra hours – this would mean that you were effectively paying them at less than NMW. This would be the case even if the student offered or insisted on staying late – bear in mind that the responsibility (and liability) lies with you for that person to be paid for the hours they have worked.
For information around maximum weekly working hours and the Working Time Directive (which counts for students too) visit https://www.gov.uk/maximum-weekly-working-hours
- 'Internship' came from the USA to refer to (unpaid) graduate development opportunities, but in the UK it has no legal definition
- While unpaid internships are legal in some countries, in the UK it is illegal to pay any worker less than the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage for student aged 25+)
- You have the same responsibilites even if the person in front of you offers to work for free!