What are my obligations as an employer when offering work experience?

Obligations for employers when offering work experience placements such as health and safety, pay and duration, insurance, DBS requirements and risk assessments

Before introducing a work experience placement scheme, it’s important to be aware of the basics.

DBS

NO DBS (FORMERLY CRB) IS REQUIRED FOR STAFF SUPERVISING YOUNG PEOPLE
AGED 16–17

The Disclosure and Barring Service, or DBS (formerly CRB), check is not compulsory for staff supervising participants aged 16–17. In the case of work experience, a DBS check will only be required if an employee’s specific job purpose includes looking after under-16 work experience students. Employers have the right to refuse requests by the education provider that checks
are carried out for those aged 16–17. For more information, visit www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service

Insurance

LIABILITY INSURANCE COVERS PEOPLE ON WORK EXPERIENCE

Individuals on work experience are now covered by the employer’s existing employers’ liability insurance policy, provided your insurer is a member of the Association of British Insurers. Find out more at www.abi.org.uk

EMPLOYERS CAN USE EXISTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR ASSESSMENTS AND MANAGEMENT OF RISKS TO YOUNG PEOPLE

Furthermore, if employers have fewer than five employees they are not required to have a written risk assessment. However, if you have not taken on a young person in the last few years or are taking on a work experience student for the first time, it’s important to take care to identify the particular needs of the individual and review risk assessments before they start.

HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDELINES MADE SIMPLE

In the past work placement arrangements have sometimes been seen as over-bureaucratic. However, the Health and Safety Executive recently reviewed their guidance to make it easier and less burdensome for employers keen to offer work experience placements. There are very few work activities a young person cannot do due to health and safety law. However, it’s important to remember that as an employer, you have primary responsibility for the health and safety of the student and should be managing any significant risks. But it’s easy to do this, by: 

  • explaining the risks and how they are controlled when inducting any individual undertaking work experience, checking that they understand what they have been told and know how to raise health and safety concerns 
  • relying on past or pooled experience when thinking about health and safety
  • keeping checks in proportion to the environment the young person will be working in – for further advice on health and safety, visit www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/workexperience/placeprovide.htm

PAY AND DURATION OF PLACEMENT

Young people can be taken on by an organisation in a number of different ways. However, generally speaking, if an employer takes on a young person who is of compulsory school age for a short-term work experience placement, they do not need to pay them for their time.

However, it is important that an employer understands the employment status and entitlement, including the right to the National Minimum Wage (NMW), that apply to each individual in their organisation. What matters is whether the agreement or arrangement an individual has with an employer makes them a ‘worker’ or an ‘employee’ for NMW purposes.

Therefore, it’s important to be clear about what you’re offering those on a work experience placement to ensure it adheres to entitlement guidelines.

For more information about the entitlements of employees and workers, and on the employment status of specific entitlements of Apprentices, those undertaking work experience placements, young people on Traineeships, interns, agency workers and
volunteers, visit www.acas.org.uk or www.gov.uk

Finally, work experience generally is for someone who spends a limited time with an organisation. The average duration of a work experience programme is around two weeks; however, the nature, length and arrangements for work experience vary greatly.

For information and guidance on the National Minimum Wage for organisations who offer work experience, visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-minimum-wage-work-experience-and-internships

Explore Opportunities

Find Apprenticeships, Jobs and Courses in Hertfordshire
;