HMRC crackdown on unpaid internships

12 - 11 - 2013

Two hundred employers that have recently advertised internships will be investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to find out if they are paying the minimum wage.

As part of the initiative, HMRC – which is the agency responsible for enforcing the minimum wage – is writing to employers to warn them that they will be carrying out ‘targeted checks’.
The investigations will coincide with the release of new government guidance to young interns to ensure they are being paid in line with current regulations. As part of the scheme, a poster campaign and a video offering guidance to would-be interns will be launched.

The move comes as concern grows that some employers are exploiting young interns by using them as cheap labour.

The current adult rate for national minimum wage rate is £6.31an hour. Workers aged 18- 20 are entitled to £5.03 an hour and 16 -17 year olds should be paid at least £3.72 an hour.

Last year HMRC found 736 employers that paid staff less than their entitlements or nothing at all.

Business Innovation and Skills minister for employment, Jo Swinson said: ‘Those occasions when you have people working for months on end for free, really is problematic.’

She reminded businesses that not paying the national minimum wage is illegal and warned that if an employer breaks the law the government will take ‘tough action’.

‘Anyone considered a worker under the law should be paid at least the minimum wage, whether they are an intern, or someone on work experience.

‘We don’t want to have a system where people get exploited and companies try to help themselves to free labour…when receiving these letters I would hope that firms think very carefully about how the law [operates] for the opportunities they’re offering,’ she added.







Foremans LLP Umberlla
Foremans LLP