Employers who take on interns would have to sign a code of practice to protect young workers from exploitation under a proposal before a NSW parliamentary inquiry into unpaid work.
Free labour, in the form of internships or volunteering opportunities, has become increasingly common, according to Unions NSW and youth lobby group Interns Australia.
This has led to concerns that young people trying to get a foothold in the job market are being exploited by bosses who see them as free labour.
In its submission to the parliamentary inquiry into unpaid work placements among children and young people, Unions NSW recommended employers adhere to a code of practice to be enforced by the Fair Work Commission.
The code would ensure that young people doing unpaid work receive adequate supervision, are exposed to a range of learning activities and do not undertake work that would otherwise be done by a paid employee. It would also stipulate that internships be structured, with a list of learning outcomes, and that interns should benefit more from the placement than the company.