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There are different capacities in which people can perform unpaid work in a business. For example, it is possible for a business to lawfully have unpaid interns, volunteers, students undertaking work experience and people undertaking a job trial for skills demonstration within the workplace at the same time. 
However, it is of critical importance for a business to correctly classify the status of everyone who services the business.  In this article, we will look at the requirements for a vocational placement, which is a key exemption to the need to pay for work performed, and consider the following:

  • the circumstances in which an employment relationship may be found to exist and therefore when payment would need to be made;
  • the requirements for unpaid job trials and volunteers;
  • work health and safety, workers’ compensation and equal opportunity matters for unpaid work; and
  • the legal and financial consequences for incorrectly classifying a worker.


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