Work experience and payment

Public news

Work experience, if not part of a vocational placement or work placement under a Commonwealth employment program is unlawful if the person is in an employment relationship with the business they are doing the work for.

To work out whether or not a ‘work experience’ person is actually an employee depends on whether an employment contract has been created. This contract does not have to be in writing, it can be a verbal agreement.

Use the following checklist to see if an employment relationship exists:

Reason for the arrangement

Is the person performing work to help with the ordinary operation of the business? The more productive work that’s involved (rather than just observation, learning, training or skill development), the more likely it is that the person is an employee.

Length of time

Generally, the longer the period of the arrangement, the more likely the person is an employee.

Significance to the business

Is the work normally done by paid employees? Does the business or organisation need this work to be done? If the person is doing work that would otherwise be done by an employee, or it's work that the business or organisation has to do, it's more likely the person is an employee.

What the person is doing?

Although the person may do some productive activities as part of a learning experience, training or skill development, they are less likely to be an employee if they are not expected or required by the business or organisation to come to work or do productive activities.

Who's getting the benefit?

The person who is doing the work should get the main benefit from the arrangement. If a business or organisation is getting the main benefit from engaging the person and their work, it’s more likely the person is an employee.

If you have any concerns in relation to your obligations and taking on work experience people, click here to contact the MTA's Workplace Relations team.