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How to make an Internship agreement

An internship contract is an agreement between the employer and intern setting out the rights, responsibilities and duties of both parties. It forms the legal relationship between the employer and intern for the duration of the fixed-term internship. This agreement is designed to be used for a paid internship, where the intern will be employed for a fixed period of time.

This agreement is a great way to lay out clear expectations for the employer and the intern and covers key areas such as pay, hours, holiday, sickness and termination.

This document is GDPR compliant.

Use this contract of employment

  • when you want to employ an intern

  • for a paid internship

  • that will last for a fixed period of time

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

  • for individuals based in England, Wales or Scotland

This internship agreement template covers

  • agreed hours and days of work

  • terms relating to holidays

  • terms dealing with sickness and injury of interns

  • the duties of the internship

  • pay and benefits

  • place of work

  • disciplinary and grievance procedures

  • arrangements for ending the internship

  • intellectual property

  • data protection

  • confidential information

When you are hiring an intern to carry out work on an employment basis, you will need a written agreement to confirm the terms of their internship. An internship agreement, signed by the employer and the intern, will ensure that the relationship is legally binding, and the legal rights of both parties are clearly established. This document will help resolve any disputes that may arise during the course of the internship. 

An intern must be paid when they carry out tasks that go beyond ‘work-shadowing.’ An intern is entitled to the national minimum wage if they count as a worker and carry out their internship with the promise of future employment. Employers cannot avoid paying the national minimum wage if it’s due by stating in their internship contract that they are not a worker. For more information, read Pay and benefits.

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. It is important to ensure 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. Employees also cannot work for more than 13 hours a day and must either have 24 hours' continuous rest a week or 48 hours a fortnight.

Interns that are classed as workers are legally entitled to at least 5.6 weeks paid holiday a year. For an intern working five days a week, this equates to 28 days a year. Where the internship only lasts for 6 months this will equate to at least 14 days holiday. This can be inclusive or exclusive of bank and public holidays. Employers can agree to a greater holiday allowance. For more information, read Employee holidays.

All employers are required by law to provide a workplace pension for certain employees. This requirement is known as automatic enrolment (or the auto-enrolment duty) and it applies to all staff who:

  • are aged between 22 and the State Pension age

  • earn at least £10,000 per annum

  • work in the UK

It is possible to postpone pension enrolment for the first 3 months of employment. To do so, the employer must write to the intern stating that they intend to postpone pension enrolment within the first 6 weeks of their internship. An internship lasting less than 3 months may not require any pension contributions. For more information on pension postponement, please and refer to the government guidelines

From April 2019, employers must pay at least 3% of an employee’s qualifying earnings (ie their salary before tax) into this workplace pension. They must also deduct contributions of at least 5% from each eligible employee. If these levels of pension contribution are already made through an existing workplace pension scheme, there is no need to take any action, as the requirements of auto-enrolment will be fulfilled.

For more information, read Auto-enrolment and salary sacrifice.

The minimum permissible notice period from two months' service until two years of service is one week. It is common to say that one week's notice will apply during the probationary period. Until two months service it is lawful to provide for termination without notice but this is unusual.

This employment contract allows the notice period to be specified, although the employer cannot offer less than the statutory minimum.

For more information on the rights and responsibilities of interns, read Hiring an intern.

Ask a lawyer for:

  • interns who will work overseas for more than one month in total

  • interns involved in creating intellectual property central to your business

  • unpaid internship agreements that involve only work shadowing

  • interns based outside England, Wales or Scotland

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

Other names for Internship agreement

Work experience contract, Paid internship agreement, Intern contract of employment.

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