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What to include in an internship agreement

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With the winter holidays coming up, you may be tempted to hire an intern to help with business. What do you need to include in your internship agreement?

It’s a good idea to have a simple internship agreement to record accurately your respective duties to each other.  The provisions of internship contracts often include the following terms:

  • no conventional salary arrangements;
  • payments on account of expenses;
  • statement of the fixed duration of the internship;
  • no fixed working hours;
  • no commitment for work to be given or undertaken; and
  • a statement that it is not a contract of employment.

For your own protection, such an agreement should also include the following:

  • confidentiality obligations – to ensure that your information must be kept confidential;
  • confirmation of your ownership of rights relating to inventions – to ensure that if an intern creates or contributes to any intellectual property during the internship then it is owned by the organisation hosting the intern;
  • commitment to your health and safety arrangements – the intern should accept any health and safety policies and otherwise be treated the same as any other individual spending time at your offices: you may also need to tell your insurers;
  • commitment to your equal opportunities policies –otherwise you could be liable if for example the intern upsets one of your staff; and
  • confirmation of opt-out from the Working Time Regulations – these rules impose a maximum average of 48 hours worked per week; if there is any chance that the intern might work for a longer time than this, the opt out should be included.

Do make sure you also read my piece about how to work out whether interns are, in fact, employees.

David Jepps is a member of the Keystone Employment Law team.

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