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Unpaid Labour in Veterinary Practices - Exploitative or Helpful?

Posted in Operations @ Feb 11th 2013 4:23pm - By Judy Gillespie
Pyramid workers

The Fair Work Ombudsman is looking into unpaid work schemes in the work place – specifically whether these arrangements are exploitative or offer important vocational experience for students and young people according to the HC Online post  Fair Work Hones in on Unpaid Work Schemes. (To find out more about the research commissioned by the Fair Work Ombudsman you can visit the website.)

What do you think?  Exploitative or helpful for the veterinary industry?

I’ve never been a fan of the type of ‘work experience’ or ‘work trials’ undertaken by too many restaurants and shops where poor suckers work a number of shift to “see how they go” and end up not getting the job or getting paid.  I’ve experienced it too many times on the Gold Coast!

My view is if you’re going to put a person in front of your precious clients or customers you had better be totally comfortable they have the skills to handle the job – which means you should have employed them and be paying them.

My other concern involves the issue of Workers Compensation.  My understanding is that if a person injures themselves in your workplace and they are not part of a formal work experience scheme nor are they on your payroll then they would not be covered by your Workers Comp insurance. This means you could be personally liable.  I’ve sent an email to the Queensland Workcover and will update this Post when/if I receive clarification on this.

On the other hand I do see there is a valid benefit to offer unpaid work experience in your business to help people gain experience or to get an idea of what the job is really like.

So what do you think? Unpaid work experience – helpful or exploitative?

Whether you’re a business owner or you’ve personally been involved in unpaid work experience tell us what you think in the comments section below.



Want to know more?  Some useful resources......

Internship, Vocational Placements & Unpaid Work fact sheet (Fair Work Ombudsman)

Fair Work hones in on unpaid work schemes (HCOnline)

The legalities of taking on work experience students and interns (HCOnline)

Government Websites:

Safe Work Australia website Workcover Queensland website 
Workcover NSW websiteWorksafe ACT website
WorkSafe Victoria websiteWorkCover Tasmania website
WorkCover SA websiteWorkCover WA website
NT WorkSafe website 




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