In Newfoundland and Labrador provincial laws provide little clarity on when interns and students are considered employees and entitled to minimum wage. Arguably, interns can be included in the broad definition of “employee” in the Labour Standards Act:
“employee” means a natural person who works under a contract of service for an employer
The Labour Standards Act clarifies the term “contract of service” and creates an exception for employees qualified or training for qualification in certain professions:
“contract of service” means a contract, whether or not in writing, in which an employer, either expressly or by implication, in return for the payment of a wage to an employee, reserves the right of control and direction of the manner and method by which the employee carries out the duties to be performed under the contract, but does not include a contract entered into by an employee qualified in or training for qualification in and working for an employer in the practice of (i) accountancy, architecture, law, medicine, pharmacy, professional engineering, surveying, teaching, veterinary science, and (ii) other professions and occupations that may be prescribed
Effective October 1, 2015, the hourly minimum wage in Newfoundland and Labrador is $10.50 for most employees.
Health and Safety Rights
In Newfoundland and Labrador provincial laws do not provide clear guidance on whether interns and students are entitled to health and safety protections. The Occupational Health and Safety Act defines “worker” as “a person engaged in an occupation,” where “occupation” is defined broadly in the regulations as “an employment, business, calling or pursuit. Arguably, interns and students could fall within this broad definition.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act more clearly includes interns and students within its scope. The legislation defines the terms “worker” to include apprentices and learners:
“Worker” means… a person who has entered into or works under a contract of service or apprenticeship, written or oral, express or implied, whether by way of manual labour or otherwise, and includes…
(ii) a person who is a learner, although not under a contract of service or apprenticeship, who becomes subject to the hazards of an industry for the purpose of undergoing training or probationary work specified or stipulated by the employer as a preliminary to employment.
In Newfoundland and Labrador interns are entitled to protections against discrimination and harassment in employment under the Human Rights Act, which provides these protections to “a person.”
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