UK: An inquiry into unfair internships

Could it be happening?!

A government watchdog is to investigate whether companies are exploiting thousands of graduates by employing them on unpaid, long-term internships during the recession, the Guardian has learned.

And even politicians, who make and break the rule, are to be investigated.

A Guardian inquiry has also discovered that MPs could be breaking the rules. Ministers have estimated that unpaid interns work up to 18,000 hours a week inside parliament, a saving of more than £5m a year on the national minimum wage. MPs are each given a staffing allowance of £104,000pa.

This practice is looked at more closely in a separate article. It states the obvious:

However, guidance provided to MPs states that “interns who are obliged to do work under the control of the member or member’s representative are likely to be workers under the minimum wage legislation and so should be paid the minimum wage.”

This interest for unfair internships from a regulatory body is more than welcome. Those who think that it’s ok just because it’s widespread may be in for a surprise. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll follow the inquiry of the Low Pay Commission.

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