Updated 08/08/13

Minister wants fairness for interns

BUSINESS MINISTER Vince Cable, lauching an event for "fairer recruitment" in creative industries on 4 July, said:

The law on the National Minimum Wage is clear and interns need to be paid in a fair way. Anyone who feels they are being exploited should contact the Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368 who will actively investigate every complaint.

The event was organised by training organisation Creative Skillset, which is calling for more employers to adopt fair approaches to the way they recruit and pay interns.

The campaign calls on employers to improve access and diversity in the creative workforce and advocate best practice by adopting Creative Skillset's updated Guidelines for Employers Offering Work Placement Schemes. Many companies run successful programmes and examples of best practice are included in the guidelines.

As of July, as reported in the Daily Mail, nine British companies had been ordered by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to pay a total of £192,808 in fines - and back pay - to 167 interns at the minimum wage of £6.19 an hour (going up to £6.31 in October.) HMRC wouldn't name the companies. In the same Mail article, the Arcadia retail group was reported to have voluntarily made payments to former interns who had done "administrative tasks" in the PR departments of its companies, after it had "'worked with HMRC' about payments made to interns". One graduate who had worked as an intern in Miss Selfridge's PR department - for the princely sum of a TfL Travelcard and £2.50 per day lunch money - got a cheque for £851. In a separate case, Harrods made a voluntary payment of £1800 - 276 hours at minimum wage - to a former graduate marketing intern.

Last modified: 05 Jul 2013 - © 2013 contributors
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