Crackdown on intern exploitation
HER MAJESTY's Revenue and Customs (HMRC, the tax people) announced a crackdown on unpaid interns in February, with "media" expected to be one of the sectors it would be targeting.
As of early February HMRC had already sent 550 letters to businesses warning them that many unpaid internships break the Minimum Wage Act, under which anyone whose role meets the definition of a "worker" must be paid at least the minimum wage. There was also the promise of HMRC "enforcement teams" to tackle repeat offenders over internships.
Former interns can claim the minimum wage via an Industrial Tribunal for their hours worked up to six months after their internship finished. The NUJ won such a case as part of its Cashback for interns campaign back in 2011: see www.nuj.org.uk/campaigns/cashback-for-interns - and NUJ members who believe their internship is or was illegal email firstname.lastname@example.org
- See also the old-skool Branch interns campaign page at www.londonfreelance.org/interns