Work experience: beware of inadvertent employment

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The youngster argues that this arrangement, not least because of the monetary payment, was in fact an employment relationship.

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Many of our members support the young generation to get into employment and start on a career path. This often includes offering opportunities of work experience. It may not be immediately obvious that taking a youngster on work experience may become a contentious issuer.

Such was a recent Employment Tribunal case where one of our members successfully defended against a claim in the Employment Tribunal.

A young lad, with some involvement and help of his mother, was asking for work experience to see if a job in a garage would be the right choice for him. Willing to help the youth, our member agreed to take him on a trial period and as an extra incentive to pay him a token sum for one day a week.

The youngster argues that this arrangement, not least because of the monetary payment, was in fact an employment relationship.

The Tribunal preferred our explanation. The trial period and the work experience were for the sole benefit of the claimant, and at the cost and inconvenience of our member. He was not required or expected to complete the trial period or turn up on every or any of the agreed days. He was simply shadowing our staff and learning the about the work in the garage.

The Tribunal accepted that this arrangement lacked the characteristics of employment and dismissed the claim.

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Kiril MoskovchukTrainee SolicitorRead More by this author

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