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Uni Student Sues NAB For 12-month Unpaid Traineeship

Uni student sues NAB for 12-month unpaid traineeship

A university student is suing the NAB over a 12-month unpaid traineeship as part of a university course.

According to a report in FairfaxDaniel Stuart is claiming $80,833 in lost wages and superannuation.

He alleges that he worked for the bank for a year as an “employee” and not part of a legitimate unpaid vocational placement.

Uni student sues NAB

Stuart worked at the bank through Swinburne University’s Industry Based Learning (IBL) program.

The program is described as offering practical experience and a paid work placement.

Stuart worked as a junior business analyst at NAB as part of the IBL program, and said his duties included:

  • regularly updating the NAB corporate intranet site;
  • designing internal reports;
  • taking part in staff training;
  • rewriting user guides for technology equipment; and
  • providing technology support for staff.

He said the bank provided him with:

  • a laptop;
  • an email address;
  • access to its online systems;
  • building access;
  • an identification card; and
  • authority to buy equipment at NAB’s expense.

He also appeared in the bank’s corporate directory as a level 2 employee.

University credit points

While Stuart claims NAB did not pay him a salary or any superannuation, he does concede he received an allowance of $16 an hour, or $31,000 for the year.

Swinburne University paid the allowance with money the NAB had “gifted” to the university.

However, Swinburne told Stuart the IBL program did not earn him credit points to count towards his course.

Therefore, he maintains he worked as an employee, and not taking part in a vocational placement.

“At the end of the day I worked for a year and didn’t get anything out of it,” Mr Stuart told Fairfax.

“I chose to work because I wanted to get paid.  

“Given that their last profits were $5.5 billion you would assume they could afford to pay people properly.”

In response, NAB said it is not required to pay a student any award, salary, fee or other payment for taking part in the IBL program.

Unpaid work must be part of an accredited course

Miles Heffernan, Director of Litigation at IR Claims, says vocational placements or internships must be organised through a proper training organisation.

“The Fair Work Act says employers can be exempt from paying students for work, as long as that work is part of their accredited vocational training course,” he said.

“These unpaid arrangements should be a requirement of a university or TAFE course, and they should only last a short time,” he said.

“It is interesting that the NAB claims it doesn’t have to pay participants in this IBL program, so why did it give money to the university to pay Mr Stuart?”


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