National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - work experience and internships

Exemptions within minimum wage legislation relevant to work experience


Some people are not entitled to the minimum wage because there is a specific exemption in the rules.

Minimum wage exemptions: work experience

The exemptions of particular relevance to work experience are:

  • Students working as a required part of a UK-based further or higher education course don't qualify for the minimum wage if their placement with you or your organisation does not exceed one year. The exemption only applies to students who undertake work that is part of their course. It does not apply to students performing work that is not related to their course, eg to help finance their studies or during a gap year.
  • People undertaking work experience for you who are of compulsory school age are not entitled to the minimum wage. If an individual is above compulsory school age but has stayed on in full or part-time education, they are entitled to the minimum wage unless they are undertaking a work placement with you as a required part of their studies (see first bullet).
  • Participants in specified government schemes or programmes. The exemption only applies if you are providing a scheme or programme which is named in minimum wage regulations. For more information, see government or EU schemes and the minimum wage.
  • Voluntary workers in your organisation are exempt from the National Minimum Wage if both the following apply:
    • you are a charity, voluntary organisation, associated fund-raising body or statutory body
    • you give them no monetary payments and only limited and specified benefits.

Not every worker who works for one of these organisations is automatically a voluntary worker. For further guidance on voluntary workers see National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - volunteers and voluntary workers.

Minimum wage work experience examples.