The debate continues. Should unpaid internships ever be allowed? At what point does ‘valuable work experience’ become exploitation?
We included a piece in our latest student newsletter about the CIPD proposals to introduce a training wage for interns to try and clarify once and for all what employers obligations are to interns.
The proposed Training Wage of £2.50 an hour - which is the current minimum rate of pay for apprentices - would be introduced to cover all internships and apprentices. Any position that is advertised as an internship would trigger a legal obligation for an employer to pay at least the Training Wage, helping to reduce complexity surrounding the issue of payment for young people and also support better enforcement arrangements.
We asked for feedback from students and graduates and we were not surprised that the response was generally in favour, on the basis that currently so many internships are completely unpaid. Stories from Masters students working unpaid for 9 months made us want to weep.
Our view remains that interns should be paid at least the national minimum wage and will then have the motivation to work hard, contribute and go on to be great ambassadors for the employer. Currently employers are running the risk of bad PR, as can be seen on Graduate Fog, where