In 1999, the United Kingdom established national minimum wage laws that still stand today. Recently, an amendment to the act securing minimum wages was created that established a national living wage for workers over the age of 25. In most situations, working for any company, firm, or corporation will entitle you to monetary compensation, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that is true across the board. It’s important to understand where there are exceptions to this law, and further to understand whether or not it will still be worth investing your time in. Here, we’ll answer some basic questions concerning work and wages.

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When should I be getting paid?

Most of the time. There are laws in place to ensure that no group of labourers are taken advantage of, but there are also exceptions to these rules. For example, if you decide to commit time to a non-profit organization, even at lengths as great as 40 hours in a week, they aren’t required by law to compensate you for your time. Odds are, if you approached or responded to an add from a non-profit, you were looking for charity work in the first place. It’s still important to know about exceptions to the law, such as charity, church work, or working as a magistrate in court.

How much do they have to pay me?

Assuming that the organization is set on paying you the legal minimum, this answer will vary. If you are aged 18-20, the national minimum is £5.30 for an hour’s worth of work. If you are aged between 21 and 24 years old, the minimum is £7.20. As recently as April 1st, 2016, though, they’ve implemented a National Living Wage for anyone over 25 years of age, which is expected to rise to at least £9 per hour within the next few years.

What if I accepted the role as only an internship?

The law that determines a worker’s pay doesn’t really pay much mind to language like “interns” or “internships.” “Work experience” can be used as an exception, but that’s only for full-time students who are using the opportunity to fulfil requirements for their coursework and pass a class. What actually matters more than whether or not the position is called an internship is whether or not they treat you as they would a paid employee. And determining that will allow you to basically determine once and for all whether or not the company owes you any wages.

So was I an intern or an employee?

Essentially, this is contingent upon what kind of work you were expected to do- and of course, whether or not you did it. Did they treat you as they would’ve treated an employee? If you missed a deadline or couldn’t finish an assignment, would a paid member of their staff complete it instead?  Were you assigned a set number of hours and expected to be present for all of them? Basically, if you were working more than shadowing and/or observing someone else working, you are entitled to the wages that you earned.

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