Don’t be surprised if you hear deafening squeals of delight reverberating from the dark corners of your offices tomorrow – the interns might just have a reason to celebrate. If Hazel Blears MP has her way, advertising for unpaid internships could become completely illegal as soon as next year.
The Labour MP has proposed that a new extension to the existing minimum wage legislation, which seeks to ban job postings for placements that don’t pay at least the national minimum wage. The proposition, dubbed the 10 minute rule – has received cross party support and is sponsored by Lib Dem’s Julian Huppert and Mike Crockart, as well as Labour’s David Milliband and Conservative Eric Ollerenshaw.
At the moment, interns who work set hours with set roles must be paid at least the national minimum wage – currently £6.19 an hour for over 21s, but advertising for unpaid internships is not currently unlawful. Currently, there is no legal distinction between work experience placements (traditionally short placements undertaken whilst still in education) and internships (which now can last as long as a year, without pay). Last week, a YouGov survey found that takeup of unpaid internships had increased ten times in the last two decades.
Us at GoThinkBig think this is fantastic news for out of work young people. Whilst we’re in favour of short work experience placements that give young people a flavour of working in a specific field, we also believe that unpaid internships unfairly exclude people who can’t afford to work to free.
But what do you think? Do you think that this will mean that companies will stop advertising internships all together? Will this make it even more difficult to get an entry-level job?