Internship Regulations in Ireland

Posted by | March 9, 2013 | Tips for Businesses

Interns have the same rights as paid, contractual employees. It’s as simple as that. If you’re planning to hire an intern, here are the main regulations you have to follow.

What rights do Interns have?

Irish Interns have exactly the same rights as Irish Employees. Employers have to guarantee to each Intern:

  • Health & Safety protection.
  • Annual leave & public holidays.
  • Protection from discrimination.
  • Data protection.

Do I need to pay wages to Interns?

Hiring an intern does not mean being exempt from minimum wage laws.

National Schemes (i.e. Jobbridge) don’t allow you to pay interns – they are looked after by the Social Welfare. On the other hand, if you hire an intern outside of the Government Scheme, you cannot ask the intern to sign a contract stating the intern has no right to be paid the Minimum Wage.

How can I hire Interns legally?

If you think National Schemes are too strict and not very flexible, you can still hire interns and avoid paying the Minimum Wage. This will be based on which duties and supervision are assigned to the intern. Here are a few rules to follow:

  • The Internship experience has to benefit the Intern, not your business.
  • The Internship should not displace a regular paid position.
  • The Internship is NOT a trial period for a potential employee.
  • The Intern and the employer have to “agree” that the Intern won’t be paid.
  • The Intern must receive training.

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