Unpaid work experience will be limited to four weeks under new legislation being discussed in parliament.
Amends to the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 – called the the Unpaid Work Experience (Prohibition) Bill – will ensure workers over the compulsory school leaving age will be eligible to receive the National Minimum Wage when undertaking work experience that exceeds a period of four weeks.
In 2012, YouGov research found that two out of five 18- to 24-year-olds believed they were required to do an unpaid internship as a means of getting a job, while later research from 2014 revealed that two-thirds of businesses supported the four-week no-pay limit.
Commentators suggested unpaid work experience has created a “catch 22” scenario, with young people needing to gather some sort of experience to secure work, with those less well-off and unable to work for free being left behind.
Unpaid internships should be consigned to the past
Internships have long been viewed as an essential route to career success, but they have also faced controversy. Conservative peer Lord Holmes said they are a “stain on our society” and that they should be “consigned to the past”.
The new bill has received its initial reading in the House of Lords and will be implemented across the whole of the UK when it passes into law.
Pay your staff adequately and on time
While the law will dictate that your company must pay work experience staff properly, it’s up to you to ensure you do the exact same for all your other staff members.
You can do that by hiring fully-qualified and experienced payroll staff with the skills to properly manage your company payroll. Register your vacancies with us now or get in touch on 020 7247 9455.