Login

Letter Offering Internship

You are viewing content for Hong Kong.

What is it?

A letter by which a company offers to engage an intern in Hong Kong.

Please note that this is a short, simple contract with provisions tailored for engaging interns for up to twelve months. If you wish to have more comprehensive provisions governing the employment, please use an Employment Contract.

Key clauses:

When drafting a Letter Offering Internship, it is important for you to focus on the following:

• Position offered and whether the position is full time or part time;
• Duration of the employment;
• Whether the intern will be paid, and if so details of the remuneration and how often the intern will be paid;
• Details of the work arrangements (including place of work, working hours, and days off);
• Whether the internship constitutes a “continuous contract” under the Employment Ordinance, and whether the intern will therefore be entitled to statutory benefits (i.e. rest days, paid statutory holidays, sick leave, and maternity or paternity leave entitlements); and
• Notice required for termination. In the Dragon Law app, you may specify a notice period for probation period (if any), and a different notice period for notice given after the probation period, either by the employer or by the intern.

Are interns employees?

It is a common misconception that “interns are not employees” and are therefore not covered by employment law or statutory minimum wage requirements. If you wish to hire an intern, consider the following issues:

1. Is the intern entitled to employee rights under the Employment Ordinance? This depends on whether the contract constitutes a “continuous contract” of employment; see below for a definition of a “continuous contract”.

2. Is the intern entitled to statutory minimum wage? This depends on whether the person qualifies as a “student intern” or a “work experience student”. See below for details.

3. Are you required to pay MPF contributions on behalf of the intern? This depends on whether the contract is for a continuous period of 60 days or more.

Key terms explained

A "continuous contract" means a contract of employment by the same employer for four weeks or more, with at least 18 hours worked each week.

A "student intern" is:

  • someone who is enrolled in full-time education programmes (either accredited programmes provided by specified local education institutions or programmes for non-local academic qualifications of degree level or higher); and
  • someone whose internship is either arranged or endorsed by the education institution, and forms a compulsory or elective component of the education programme.

A "work experience student" is:

  • someone who is enrolled in full-time education programmes (either accredited programmes provided by specified local education institutions, or programmes for non-local academic qualifications of degree level or higher);
  • under 26 years old at the commencement of employment; and
  • was not previously employed as a work experience student exempt from minimum wage requirements in the same calendar year.

If the person that you are hiring does not qualify as either a student intern or a work experience student, statutory minimum wage requirements apply and you must pay the person not less than the statutory minimum wage.

Will MPF requirements apply?

If you pay the intern, you should check if MPF requirements apply.

If the intern is at least 18 but under 65 years old and the internship is for a continuous period of 60 days or more (either full-time or part-time), MPF requirements will apply. Check out FAQ no.8 on this page published by the MPF Authority.

For employment for a fixed period of less than 60 days, if the employment is within the construction or catering industry, MPF requirements will also apply.

Note this "continuous period" is different from "continuous employment" under the Employment Ordinance. There is no minimum number of hours of work for a day to be counted towards the "continuous period".

How to hire an intern

Step 1: Check if the person you intend to hire qualifies as a student intern or a work experience student.

Step 2: Create and execute a Letter Offering Internship on the Dragon Law app.

Step 3: Obtain the following documents and keep them for 6 months after the end of the internship:

(a) if the person you intend to hire qualifies as a student intern, obtain a copy of confirmation issued by the education institution showing that the employment is arranged or endorsed by the education institution; or

(b) if the person you intend to hire qualifies as a work experience student, obtain:

(i) a copy of confirmation issued by the education institution showing that the work experience student is (as at the commencement of the employment) enrolled in a programme that is of a kind covered by the definition of "work experience student" in the Minimum Wage Ordinance; and

(ii) a statutory declaration that the work experience student has not entered into any contract of employment in the same calendar year in which any period has been treated as a period of exempt student employment.

Step 4: If you are required to pay MPF contributions on behalf of the intern, enrol the intern into an MPF scheme within the first 60 days of employment (or if you are in the construction or catering industry, enrol your intern within the first 10 days of employment).

Letter Offering Internship Document