UNPAID INTERNSHIPS: OPPORTUNITY OR EXPLOITATION?

Right Now: Human Rights in Australia article on the rise in unpaid internships in Australia. They ask what distinguishes an intern from an employee:

‘A prominent issue recently came to light in a landmark case before the Federal Circuit Court, where Melbourne-based media organisation Crocmedia was fined $24,000 for not paying its interns because of the nature of the work the interns were doing, such as producing radio programs and taking on graveyard shifts. The case highlighted that some Australian companies are exploiting unpaid interns to do work that paid employees would usually do.

Advocacy bodies are taking a stand. Colleen Chen, who co-founded Interns Australia, following her own firsthand experience with what she describes as “unpaid precarious work”, notes that an increasing number of interns are working for free due to gaps in employment laws and high youth unemployment rates.’

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