Interns Australia's Response to the PaTH Internship Programme
Tuesday, 13 September 2016
Interns Australia, the peak body representing interns in Australia, does not support the Internship Programme as described in publicly available information.
We believe the program will accelerate an already developing ‘internships culture’ in Australia, erode the still-unclear rights of interns in Australia, and contribute to the displacement of entry-level employment with insecure work.
Interns Australia supports a parliamentary inquiry to the role of internships in Australian employment law. We seek an examination of:
- The appropriate legal status for an ‘intern’ under Australian employment law;
- The rights and protections that attach to this status;
- The potential for government funding for internships at organisations that meet certain
- criteria; and
- The current role of the FWO and the development of its enforcement powers.
Until such an inquiry has taken place, Interns Australia believes that the government should adopt best practice and ensure participants in the National Internship Scheme are classified as ‘employees’ (and so appropriately compensated for their work) under the Fair Work Act. This would ensure their working rights are protected.
Interns Australia welcomes Labor election commitment to address unfair, unpaid internships
Thursday, 30 June 2016
Interns Australia, the peak body representing interns in Australia, has today welcomed Labor’s election commitment to begin to address the exploitation of young people in unpaid and underpaid internships in Australia.
The announcement comes amid growing concern over the number of young people undertaking internships who are not being paid for their work.
Under the commitment, if elected Labor will work with stakeholders including Interns Australia to:
- clarify the definition of internship, which is increasingly used to attract young interns into jobs which should be paid
- ensure that unpaid internships are not being used to replace real jobs
- provide an additional $22.9m in resources to the Fair Work Ombudsman to amp up its work to protect interns from exploitation
Intern peak body warns of increasing exploitation of young people through underpaid internships
Tuesday, 3 May 2016
The Government’s budget announcement that it will provide incentives to employers to offer internships may lead to the increased exploitation of young people, warns the peak body representing Australian interns.
Interns Australia says that there are already significant and increasing concerns about the exploitation of young people in internships, which have likely been overlooked by Treasurer Scott Morrison in his jobs plan.
“Internships can be great for young people and businesses, but providing $200 for 15-25 hours of work - $4 per hour – requires serious reflection. In real life, this may end up being a significantly underpaid work trial,” said Dimity Mannering, Executive Director of Interns Australia.
With lawmakers, government, industry and the community becoming aware of an apparent growth in unpaid internships in Australia, it is increasingly important to evaluate the nature and prevalence of unpaid work arrangements across the economy.
Another case of interns allegedly being exploited under unpaid internship arrangements highlights the pressing need for reform of Australian work laws to protect young people.
Press release - Interns Australia 2015 Annual Survey results - November 2015
Young Australians forfeit an average of $5913.18 in wages while working in unpaid internships, with the average Australian intern working for nine weeks without pay and many completing three or more placements, an annual survey by intern support and advocacy group Interns Australia has revealed.
Great internships are good for business, good for young people and good for Australia’s future say business and interns. And to encourage more of them, employers will from today be invited to join an Australia-first initiative to identify, recognise and promote the country’s best internships.
Join us to launch the National Fair Internship Pledge - October 2015
Interns Australia submission to the Productivity Commission - March 2015
Interns Australia recommends that:
- the Commission formally recognise that there is widespread and increasing non-compliance with the FW Act provisions obliging remuneration and conditions to interns properly characterised as national system employees.
- the Commission formally recognise that this non-compliance leads to social inequities and market inefficiencies, including creating barriers to entry into professional labour markets for persons from lower socio-economic status groups and a diminished pool of skilled labour due to underutilisation of skills.
- the Commission recommend that the FWO address this noncompliance through further education and prosecution campaigns, including by raising awareness among interns and prospective interns of their workplace rights.
- That the Commission investigate an appropriate regulatory body to oversee the compliance of ‘vocational placement’ programs under the FW Act.
- the Commission review the ramifications of the internship provider industry in the sale and marketing of work experience as a product, converting the labour issue into a consumer issue, and diminishing the FWO’s abilities to prosecute noncompliant businesses.
Read our submission.
Treatment of interns under the spotlight again as Fair Work Ombudsman rules against Sydney architecture firm - March 2015
Interns Australia has today welcomed a Fair Work Ombudsman investigation and subsequent finding against a Sydney architecture firm found to have breached workplace law by not paying and then underpaying a former intern.
As part of its Enforceable Ruling from the Ombudsman, D-Studio Architects Pty Ltd has donated $500 to Interns Australia to support the promotion of fair internships.
Read our press release.
Interns Australia welcomes landmark win for Australian interns - January 2015
Interns Australia has welcomed a landmark ruling against a Melbourne media company for failing to pay two interns who worked in its office for 20 months.
Crocmedia, a medium-sized company that produces radio and television content, was today fined $24,000 by the Federal Circuit Court for breaching minimum wage provisions and failing to pay two interns, one who worked 14 months and another who worked six months in its Melbourne office, between 2011 and 2013. Prior to the ruling, Crocmedia agreed to pay the interns their full wages for the period.
Interns Australia, which lobbies and advocates for the fair treatment of interns, says the decision is an important step forward in giving greater protection to vulnerable job seekers and young Australians.
Read our press release.
NSW Parliamentary Inquiry recommends Code of Conduct for Interns - December 2014
Interns Australia presented a submission on the rising culture of internships in Australia to the Committee on Children and Young People, drawing on a report by the Fair Work Ombudsman as well as anecdotes from community organisations. From our submission, the Committee adopted recommendations to include:
- The development of a code of practice for internships and other forms of unpaid work; (Recommendation 7)
- The development of a best practice guide for internships and other forms of unpaid work, and promotes the guide to workplaces and young people; (Recommendation 8)
- Research into the prevalence and composition of internships and other forms of unpaid work in NSW and its impacts on young people. (Recommendation 9)
- Review of the regulations that apply to the internship broker sector, to inform the development of clear guidelines for the sector. (Recommendation 10)
Read the full report here.
Interns Australia's Colleen Chen participates in the Fourth Ron McCallum debate - November 2014
Deputy Director Colleen Chen participated in the Fourth Annual Ron McCallum debate on Tuesday 25th November. Joined by Emeritus Professor Ron McCallum AO, Stephen Smith (Director National Industrial Relations at Australian Industry Group), Louise Tarrant (former National Secretary at United Voice) and Professor Barbara Pocock (former Director of the Centre for Work & Life), the speakers and audience members were invited to think about how the regulation of work impacts on our lives.
You can listen to the debate by following this link.
Interns Australia successfully funds campaign to launch Australia's first Internship Accreditation Scheme - October 2014
Interns Australia has successfully raised over $10,000 to launch Australia's first internship accreditation scheme in 2015. Developing the scheme with the assistance of the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Australian Institute of Employment Rights and in consultation with universities, industry groups and business owners, Interns Australia looks forward to encouraging best practice and fair wage for interns.
Interns Australia presents inaugural Most Outstanding Internship Program award to Tin Alley Beta - October 2014
Interns Australia is delighted to be presenting Tin Alley beta with our inaugural Most Outstanding Internship Program of the year!
Tin Alley is a tech startup internship program founded by Miguel Wood. The application process to the Tin Alley Beta program is competitive for both students and host organisations. Host organisations are selected based on their ability to remunerate students and to attract applicants during a pitch night held on campus. Students are selected via an online application process and an interview before a selection panel.
Find out more about Tin Alley Beta program here.
National Internship Survey Interim Report - April 2014.
Among the findings was that 87.5% of respondents had completed at least one internship that was entirely unpaid while only 20% of those were who had done so were doing it as a compulsory part of their vocational training program. This indicates that many internships currently undertaken by students are not legal under the workplace laws because only when a work placement is undertaken as a mandatory part of an education or training course, will the employer not be obliged to pay their interns.
Read our media release.
Read our full report.