The National Union of Journalists is celebrating the first victory in its Cashback for Interns campaign and has warned media employers to “pay interns or face the consequences”.
An employment tribunal found in favour of 21-year-old Keri Hudson. Despite not having any written contract, she was deemed a worker in law, and therefore entitled to the minimum wage at the very least.
She spent several weeks at the My Village website in late 2010 as an unpaid intern. In her time there she worked from 10am to 6pm, and was responsible for a team of writers, training and delegating tasks, and even hiring new interns. She had been told by the company that she was not entitled to pay because she was considered an intern.
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear called it “the first case of its kind”, and warned that “it will not be the last” if employers continue to break the law. The union claims that more than 100 people have been in contact, seeking its help in recovering payment.
The NUJ launched the Cashback for Interns campaign in October, on the back of a report that declared unpaid internships are illegal under minimum wage laws if the intern is contributing a valuable service to the company.
(Source: National Union of Journalists)