So I have finally realised the importance of the blog I couldn’t wait to give up. Being able to speak freely online is greatly important when discussing unemployment and internships. It brings information to people that may not be widely known or spoken about.
I have found in the last few days that this medium of communication is especially important when talking about internships. It is a little known fact that the word ‘internship’ has no place in UK law, and legally is not a justification of cheap labour.
There are very few circumstances wherein an employer can justify not paying the minimum wage, and these reasons are; if it is as part of a school work experience, as part of a further or higher education course, if you are working for a charity, or if you are merely shadowing (observing) a full time employee.
In addition, despite what it says in any contract, or what your employer tells you, you are entitled to minimum wage if you carry out work for the company.
The reason some employers continue to get away with this behaviour is because they target the vulnerable: people who live alone, people who need money, need experience, need jobs. People like us.
I am very fortunate that I have fantastic parents who are willing to put up with me, who will look after me until I can get on my feet. Therefore I had to stand up and say something. I could no longer work somewhere that dismissed the law as opinion, and who continued to use vulnerable people.
If you feel you have a claim, you can complain to HMRC in the telephone number at the end of this page. You can claim anonymously, with partial anonymity (where your employer doesn’t know who you are but HMRC do) or with your identity. They can deal with claims from any unpaid employment you may have had in the last 6 years(!!).This problem is not just a problem for me, but across the country, and HMRC are cracking down on it.
This is not only damaging to ourselves, but it is disadvantaging the majority honest businesses who pay for all their employees. Please do not accept this kind treatment. We deserve more.