The job ad, which included statements like “Fuelled by Awesomeness (sic)” and promised benefits like “…even looks great on your resume”, asked for interns to work for up to 12 months with no financial compensation, News Ltd reported.
The benefits offered included the promise of payment in emojis, table tennis and being able to pick what songs play in the office. In exchange for these groundbreaking benefits, however, the “interns” would have to:
-Do a ‘daily startup’ with the team
-Contribute and maintain internal libraries
-Evaluate processes and optimise completion tasks
-“Squash bugs and help save our users” (We think they were trying to avoid saying ‘IT support’)
Of course, these tasks sound a lot less like what interns do and more like what employees do.
The ad was pulled by SEEK once brought to their attention,and there was no formal apology on the company’s Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or webpage.
Key HR takeaways
Navigating the legality surrounding internships can be difficult for many Australian organisations. The Fair Work Ombudsman outlined five key questions HR pros should ask when determining whether an internship is valid and legal:
What is the purpose of the arrangement? Work experience is a valid purpose, but if the individual is assisting with business outputs and productivity they are more likely to be engaged in employment.
How long is the placement? The longer a placement, the more likely the intern is actually an employee.
What are the person’s obligations? While some productive activities are likely to take place, if there is an expectation or requirement placed on the intern, he or she is more likely to be an employee.
Who benefits from the arrangements? Granted, an organisation will often benefit from an intern regardless. However, the main benefit should be on the intern. If the organisation is gaining greater benefit, it is likely employment.
How was the placement entered? Placement through a university or vocational training organisation greatly reduces the changes an employment relationship exists.
Like many Australian organisations, Melbourne company BigDatr decided to bring an intern on board. However, the company failed to realise what it was looking for was more an employee it didn’t have to pay than someone who would benefit from work experience.