What Is a Work Experience Policy?

C. Webb
C. Webb
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

A work experience policy details the guidelines for an organization's work experience program. People participate in work experience programs for school credit, court-ordered community service, and to try on the profession and see if they want to go into it. In some cases, it is a requirement for student graduation from technical schools and universities. A work experience policy promotes uniform treatment of all participants.

Companies that offer work experience programs recognize the value of experiential learning. The policy typically targets expectations of the participants and the company to give the participants the most value for their time. It usually specifies the amount of time required each week as well as how long the program will last. For example, a work experience policy may mandate that volunteers devote five hours per week for six months to the company.

Whether the work experience is for graduation or to fulfill a court order, work experience policies often require a daily or weekly report. The report details time of arrival, tasks performed, and time of departure. A supervisor's signature verifying the report information is often required. The work experience policy lets participants and employees know the details required in each report and the required report frequency.

In addition to outlining the participant's work experience requirements, a work experience policy also guides staff members in choosing future participants. The policy provides preferred criteria, demographic targets, and other aspects to help choose participants. For example, the policy might state that work experience participants must have an income below regional poverty levels.

The work experience is unpaid, and many work experience policies address the difference between a work experience participant and an employee. Policies typically caution decision makers not to use work experience participants in place of paid workers. Close supervision needs of work experience participants must be considered in scheduling them for work.

Insurance issues are also included in the work experience policy. Whether insurance covers the participants, what liability there may be for the program, and protocol for participant illness or injury should all part of the policy. The participant may be asked to sign verification that he or she has read the policies and understands them.

Work experience policies sometimes include a non-disclosure agreement. This is an agreement by the work experience participant not to disclose trade or company information with anyone outside the company. Participants must sign the agreement before being allowed to begin their work experience.

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