The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) has launched a new set of guidelines for managing student interns.
The move comes after a B&T study found that 95% of interns surveyed completed unpaid work in PR, and unpaid placements also ran much longer than paid ones.
The new guidelines state that the Fair Work Act is very clear that students do not need to be paid if they are enrolled in an academic subject that requires them to complete formal work experience or a vocational placement.
However, if students are not enrolled in such a subject and the student does more than a few days of observation in the consultancy, then they should be paid for their efforts.
PRIA added that once the formal internship period has been completed, the student may be considered an employee if they continue working in the consultancy and there are clear minimum wage rates which apply.
Also outlined was that there should be an agreement between the student and the host consultancy about learning outcomes, that the host organisation should appoint a supervisor and conduct formal induction and then ongoing review discussions, while the consultancy should also be asked to fill in a report or evaluation.