In our coming-up-to-two years in this internsanonymous game many things have changed, Alex has a job and Rosy a research proposal, Gordon Brown is no longer Prime Minister and the delights of 3D cinema are ubiquitous. One thing, however, hasn’t changed- we still get contacted by interns who clearly should be getting paid and want to know if we can do anything to help them. They send emails to the HMRC, they call the national minimum wage helpline and, invariably, they don’t receive any help or any back up in their search for a wage that they are legally entitled to.
So this article over at Graduate Fog is depressing but not altogether surprising. Tanya de Grunwald talked to a representative of the Department of Business. This is what they said regarding the exploitation of interns:
- Implied that prosecuting exploitative employers was too expensive and not “appropriate”, as most broke the law by accident.
- Dismissed concerns that the current NMW enforcement system fails to protect vulnerable interns.
- Disputed recent statistics showing the scale of the unpaid internships problem
- Claimed that the current penalties for those who break the law are an adequate deterrent to others who might be tempted to exploit interns.
- Suggested that a large number of interns are not entitled to the NMW – and that could partially explain why so few cases are brought against employers.
- Urged interns to take greater responsibility for the nature of the placement they sign up to.
- Showed no understanding of the complex reasons why reporting their unpaid placement is unappealing to most interns trying to impress their employer – and that this is not just about confidentiality.
To read the full article and give your opinion just click here.