According to BBC News, 40,000 students who graduated from university last summer are still seeking full-time work. Many are working as interns to gain some experience. Unfortunately most of them seem to be working unpaid.
Under the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, anyone deemed a “worker” is entitled to the minimum wage (currently, £5.80 for workers over 22; £4.83 for 18 to 22 year olds; and £3.57 per hour for all workers under the age of 18, who are no longer of compulsory school age).
Many employers classify interns as “volunteers”, however, and therefore refuse to pay them the minimum wage, or even their expenses.
In reality, of course, most interns work really hard, do essential work, and organisations simply use them to cut costs – in clear contravention of the National Minimum Wage Act.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
‘While internships can be a valuable means of providing young people with work experience, great care needs to be taken to ensure that they are not used to exploit young people or as a substitute for real jobs. It is important that interns receive their legal rights and are paid at least the minimum wage.’
A genuine volunteer should be given the chance to learn as much as possible during the period of their internship. Time spent shadowing an experienced professional, training, and accruing other valuable experience clearly shows that the intern is being offered something more fulfilling than simply unpaid work.
** UK employment law – additional information & advice **
You can learn more about UK employment law on FindLaw. Alternatively, you may want to speak with a solicitor. You can find a solicitor locally for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.
You may also like:
- Health and Safety: Alton Towers owner pleads guilty to health…
- Guest Blog: Cohabiting couples, their rights and the common law…
- International: Virginia governor overturns law to allow convicted criminals to…
- Legal Aid: New report shows rise in DIY defence since…
- Law and government: Councils appeal for increased powers to limit…
If you cannot find what you are looking for on Findlaw.co.uk please let us know by contacting us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Furthermore, please be aware that while we attempt to ensure all our information is as up-to-date and relevant as possible occasionally some our articles may no longer be accurate.