Is it unlawful to not pay at least the National Minimum Wage to interns? I cannot see them in the list of excluded categories but they are taken on to learn (OK, by doing work experience) and get their foot in the door of their chosen career rather than to do anything absolutely essential. But am I in breach of the NMW regulations if I do not pay anything but expenses?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 7 June 2011
Emma-Jane Flannery
Arthur Cox

Generally speaking an intern is not entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW), however, the intern may attract the NMW if he/she is be classified as a worker. This is a fine line that employer’s should be cautious of.

In the GB Tribunal case of Vetta v London Dreams Motion Pictures Ltd, it transpired that the intern was a worker. This was because the intern was given work that is more akin to that of a full-time employee and therefore was viewed as a 'worker'. An intern’s work should be temporary with an emphasis on training and learning and should not be exploited. If interns are given

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Emma-Jane Flannery
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Emma-Jane Flannery. Contact telephone number is 028 9023 0007 or email

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