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Policy seeks to enforce paid internships

Robin Obino @obinorobin

Employers may soon be compelled to pay students on industrial attachment or graduates who have not secured jobs and end up accepting placement jobs if the new national internship policy is adopted.

The policy by the National Employment Authority (NEA) shall apply to both public and private institutions countrywide. This comes as a relief to the interns who, in most cases, are not paid to cover their expenses such as transport and lunch leaving them to depend on relatives and friends.

NEA chairperson Winnie Pertet says providing such incentives as payments to interns encourages them not only to offer better services but also helps them foot their bills. NEA proposes that interns get at least Sh1,000 per month.

“The government should facilitate students at tertiary institutions to find paid internship for a period of three to 12 months during or after completion of their studies. Incentives should also be offered to employers to encourage them to offer internships to graduates.” The current policy on internship payment is still unclear.

A 2016 public service commission circular directed that interns hired by the government be paid at least Sh25,000. It is, however, silent on those in the private sector.

The rate of these stipends was to be determined by the government from time to time. The new policy seeks to ensure a well structured and coordinated internship programme and provide graduates with work experience.

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