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National Minimum Wage and Living Wage

Information on the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage is available on the Gov.uk website. See also National minimum wage: work experience and internships.

The NCVO have produced a good overview of how the NMW regulations should be applied to "volunteering" and "internships".

To facilitate the handling of vacancy information for students and recent graduates, some exemptions to the national minimum wage may apply, the most relevant are summarised below:

  • Students engaged in work experience as part of their higher education course, and where the placement does not exceed one year, are exempt.
  • Work shadowing, is exempt, where the placement consists entirely of work shadowing with no performed work.
  • Voluntary Workers: anyone who works under a contract of employment and without pay, for a charity, or a voluntary organisation, or an associated fundraising body, or a statutory body. A voluntary worker can receive reasonable out of pocket expenses directly related to their voluntary work.
  • Volunteers: anyone who does not have a contract of employment (written, oral or implied) to perform work and who is under no obligation to perform work or to carry out your instructions. A volunteer worker can receive reasonable out of pocket expenses directly related to their volunteering.

Given the limit of exemptions from the NMW, the vast majority of opportunities posted on our Vacancies & Opportunities online service are likely to be subject to the NMW. If you have any queries on salaries for interns, vacation work students or graduates, your liaison Careers Adviser contact may be able to advise you.

Please note: If you are unable to provide lengthy periods of paid vacation work, you could consider shorter project work, work shadowing, workshops, courses or open days.

April 2014