New support to protect interns' right to fair pay
Interns in the UK are to get more support to protect their right to fair pay, as the government launches new advice for young people and cracks down on unfair practises.
The new video and posters - produced by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) in collaboration with 4Talent (TV broadcaster Channel 4’s in-house intern scheme) - explain to people leaving education and making their first step on the career ladder what their rights are in relation to being paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW), where to go for more information and what action they can take if they feel they have been exploited. Information available to young people will also be boosted online and through social media such as the NMW Facebook page.
Alongside the new guidance, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) who enforce NMW on behalf of BIS, will be sending out letters to 200 employers who have recently advertised intern opportunities and unpaid work. The letters will alert businesses that HMRC will shortly be carrying out a series of targeted checks to make sure employers who have advertised internships are paying all their workers the correct NMW rate.
Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson commented: "Leaving education and getting a job for the first time can be daunting for any young person. Internships can provide an important first step and are often a valuable way of helping young people start work. They should be open to everyone in a fair and transparent way.
"Not paying the National Minimum Wage is illegal and if an employer breaks the law, government will take tough action. Already this year HMRC has issued penalties to 466 employers. Anyone considered a worker under the law should be paid at least the minimum wage, whether they are an intern, or someone on work experience.”