Unpaid internships break the law, says report

Journalism may be a rich person’s hobby, but those trying to break the mould may have the law on their side.

A new report, co-authored by Public policy Research and Internocracy, has told private sector media outlets that interns are entitled to the minimum wage, reports Press Gazette.

Putting that into practice could make it easier for cub reporters unable to afford a long stint working for free to compete for internships usually occupied by those propped up by the Bank of Mum and Dad and good family connections.

“Employers mistakenly believe there is a ‘grey area’ around internships in the National Minimum Wage legislation and that they are allowed to take on unpaid interns so long as both sides know it is a voluntary position – but they are wrong,” said the report.

“Under the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 anyone doing work for an organisation must be paid at least the minimum wage. This is regardless of how a job was advertised, what the job title is or whether there is a contract in place. Charities, voluntary organisations and statutory bodies are able to employ unpaid voluntary workers but private companies are not.”

It added that law and enforcement agencies were “turning a blind eye”.

(Source: Press Gazette)

This article appears in issue 246 of Media Digest

Photo taken by Flickr user thinkpublic, licenced under Creative Commons.

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