A small victory for those who think MPs Interns should receive minimum wage. Reported in a Cornwall regional paper this morning: the Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Truro and Falmouth has been forced to withdraw a job advertisement for a full-time intern because it flouted government regulations on work and pay.
The advert she submitted is very similar to many others MPs use. It’s an interesting precedent. And for those that say young people will be missing out on opportunities by limiting the number of internships – the position is not disappearing – but will now be paid.
The concept of “volunteering” is so problematic, because young people are aware that they must do work like this to build a career. Interns cannot work any hours they choose, or refuse task, or they risk a good reference. Never mind the exclusion of those who can not afford to work for free.
The party is looking for more staff as it gears up for the General Election.
Terrye Teverson told The West Briton that it was a genuine error made by a volunteer who had worded the advertisement incorrectly.
“I didn’t place the advert,” said the prospective MP, adding that it has now been withdrawn. “The key thing to stress is that volunteers work what hours they want to. We do not dictate anything,” she added.
The unpaid Cornwall-based position appeared on the Commons jobs website. It listed key tasks including press and media work, campaign and database management as well as research.
The West Briton contacted the HM Revenue and Customs pay and works helpline. It said volunteers do not work set hours, do not have a contract and are not obliged to carry out specific duties.
These rules do not apply if the intern/volunteer is a student. Employers ignoring the regulations face a fine of up to £5,000. Mrs Teverson said staff were writing a new advertisement for a full-time paid researcher and campaigner to be posted this week.