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Internship agreement

Internships allow young people to gain work experience and establish their credentials in the job market. This straightforward internship agreement allows an internship provider to set out the rights and responsibilities of an intern during an internship.

Use this internship agreement when:

  • you want to hire an intern on a paid or unpaid (voluntary) basis

  • you want to use a straightforward internship agreement which clarifies the basic terms of the internship

  • you are based in England, Wales of Scotland

This internship agreement covers the:

  • duration of the internship

  • agreed hours and days of work

  • pay and expenses

  • place of work

  • intern’s main point of contact

  • confidential information

An internship agreement is an agreement between the internship provider and intern setting out the intern’s rights and duties.

You should use an internship agreement where you wish to hire an intern on a paid or unpaid basis. The internship agreement will set out the conditions of the internship and will ensure that the parties are aware of their respective rights and responsibilities over the course of the internship.

Internship providers can choose to offer paid or unpaid internships. 

Unpaid internships (also known as ‘voluntary internships’ and ‘expenses only internships’) are those where an individual gives their services free of charge in order to develop or maintain their skills. Where an unpaid internship is being offered, you should check if the person is a volunteer for minimum wage purposes or if an exemption applies. If the person is not a genuine volunteer and is not exempt, then you must pay them at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

Paid internships are those where an individual is entitled to at least the NMW in return for their services.

There is currently no specific minimum wage for interns. Whether they are legally entitled to a salary will depend upon their employment status:

  • volunteers - interns who work on a voluntary basis are not entitled to any wage

  • workers - if an intern is promised a contract of future work they will be classed as a worker and be entitled to the NMW

  • employees - an intern who does regular paid work for an employer may qualify as an employee, in which case they will be entitled to the NMW and other employment law rights

If an intern is entitled to the NMW, the minimum hourly pay will depend on their age. For more information read Hiring an intern.

Certain types of interns do not qualify for NWM. These include:

  • Work experience students who have not reached the school leaving age (generally the end of the school year once someone has turned 16)

  • Student interns who are completing an internship as a requirement of a UK-based further or higher education course (eg sandwich placements)

  • Students who are only shadowing employees (ie observing rather than carrying out any work themselves)

  • Voluntary workers who work for a charity or voluntary organisation and do not get paid (other than limited benefits, eg reasonable expenses)

Whether an intern has employment rights will depend on their employment status. If they are classified as an employee or worker they will be entitled to certain employment rights (eg sick pay, unfair dismissal rights and holiday pay). If they are classes as a volunteer, they will typically not be entitled to any employment rights. Read Hiring an intern for more information.

This internship agreement allows you to specify regular or irregular hours of work - for example, 9 am - 5 pm Monday - Friday or a certain number of hours per week, at times to be agreed. Check that the intern is not working more than 48 hours a week, averaged over 17 weeks. This is the legal maximum, including work for other employers. If an intern works at or close to the maximum, ask them if they are willing to opt-out from the 48 hour limit. If not you must take reasonable steps to ensure that working time stays under the limit.

Ask a lawyer for advice if:

  • the document doesn't meet your needs or cover what you want

  • the intern is based outside of England, Wales of Scotland

  • you are unsure if you should pay the intern

This internship agreement is governed by the law of England, Wales and Scotland.

Other names for Internship agreement

Internship contract, Internship letter, Internship agreement letter.

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