UNPAID internships are being cracked down on by the government with over 550 warning letters dispatched to companies.
The media, the performing arts and law and accountancy firms are expected to be targeted by HM Revenue & Customs.
Unpaid internships are being cracked down on by the government
Employers have been told when they must legally pay at least the minimum wage and enforcement teams have been set up to tackle repeat offenders, the Guardian reported.
About 70,000 internships are offered each year in the UK, according to the Sutton Trust social mobility charity.
It estimates that of 10,000 graduates who are in internships six months after they leave university, a fifth are unpaid.
Campaigners want the law to be tightened to ensure all internships are paid, fairly advertised and awarded on merit rather than through contacts.
Business minister Andrew Griffiths slammed the use of ‘exploitative’ unpaid internships
Business minister Andrew Griffiths said: “Employing unpaid interns as workers to avoid paying the national minimum wage is against the law and exploitative.
“That’s why over the last three months, government enforcement teams have been targeting employers advertising for unpaid interns, reminding them of the law and the consequences of breaking it.”
Under employment legislation, anyone who is acting as a “worker,” an official employment classification, must be paid.
But the government has said “genuine volunteers” are not entitled to the minimum wage and campaigners say that unscrupulous employers are using this as a loophole to avoid paying.
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