Are Employers Breaking the Law By Not Paying Interns?
A new report from the Institute for Public Policy Research and campaign group Internocracy suggests employers are. The very legitimate arguments put forward in the report are that interns are ‘workers’ under the National Minimum Wage Act, and therefore due at least the national minimum wage (and the workers would probably be due holiday pay too).
The National Minimum Wage Act 1998 defines ‘worker’, employee’ etc. at Section 54, relying on no external sources. Exclusions from the minimum wage are provided for under Sections 43- 45, within which there is nothing to imply that an intern who agrees to undertake to perform personally any work or services should be classified as anything less than a worker.
Kayte Lawton, report co-author and research fellow at ippr, said:
“Too many employers don’t understand the law when it comes to hiring interns. There is a mistaken belief that employers can take on people on a voluntary basis if both sides agree – but that’s not what the law says.”
The report suggests that there could be 250,000 intern placements this year, and based on other studies referred to in the report, that could mean some 115,000 workers could have a claim for failure to pay the minimum wage.
Employers need to realise that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and equally there is no such thing as free labour. For advice on this matter, or all your employment law needs, please contact Employment Law Clinic.
To answer the title question of this post, most probably:
Why Interns Need a Fair Wage by Kayte Lawton and Dominic Potter is free to download from http://www.ippr.org.uk/members/download.asp?f=%2Fecomm%2Ffiles%2FWhy+interns+need+a+fair+wage%2Epdf