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definition of employee

HRinfodesk poll result and commentary: Unpaid internships – labour standards, human rights questions

The issue of unpaid work has been a hot topic for quite a while now, and despite efforts by authorities to clarify the legal status, sometimes it seems that employers aren’t understanding it any better. To get a better idea of where our readers stand, we recently asked, Do you have unpaid internships at your organization? Slightly more than 80 percent of respondents said no, they don’t use unpaid interns, while nearly 20 percent said yes, they do. We didn’t ask whether employers are using legal unpaid internships, or whether they know if their internship arrangements are legal, but we’d like to offer our two cents and hopefully help our readers understand what’s legal and what’s not when it comes to unpaid internships.


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When is an employee not an employee?

Employees, and employers, frequently seek to paint the employment relationship in a different manner in order to serve whatever goals they may have in either their employment or in the operation of their business. The writer has seen countless “Consulting Agreements” which merely attempt to clothe an employee with some characteristics of an independent contractor in the hope of either reducing taxes or avoiding Employment Standards Act responsibilities.


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