Treat your interns fairly

Agencies that mistreat interns could find themselves answering official complaints, cautions the CIPR.


Internships provide a route to employment for aspiring professionals but the ethics are clear. Interns classed as workers should be paid at least the national minimum wage, preferably a living wage, and an internship should offer the chance to gain genuine, hands-on experience, especially when it is understood to be part of the arrangement.

In a recent CIPR survey, a significant number of respondents had taken an unpaid internship and a substantial minority said their experiences were disappointing. Employers of interns should consult the website and search ‘Employment Rights for Interns’, as well as following the CIPR’s guidance.

Charging the client for the intern’s time when the agency is not paying them shows a clear lack of integrity and financial propriety and would certainly be grounds for a complaint under the CIPR Code of Conduct.

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