As an employer we are keen to offer volunteering opportunities and/or internships to individuals who would like to gain experience or an insight into the work that we do. However, how do we ensure that they do not become classified as a ‘worker’? Is there any guidance to assess when the line of being a worker is crossed?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 2 December 2014
Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

There is no legal definition of either a “volunteer” or “intern” and there is no specific legislation that deals with the relationship between an employer and an intern/volunteer.

There is also no specific guidance on assessing the status of each and so, the usual employment law principles apply i.e. is the volunteer/ intern an employee, a worker, or in a wider category of individuals who are protected from discrimination? This distinction is very important as it determines what rights the individual is entitled to; for example, an “employee” has the right not to be unfairly dismissed and a “worker” is entitled to the right to paid annual leave and the right to receive the National Minimum

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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.

Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Arthur Cox. Contact telephone number is +44 28 9026 2673 or email

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