Why we need a four week limit

A four week limit to unpaid internships will offer legal clarity and fairness. 

The Government should introduce a four week limit to unpaid internships. This is the right thing to do, ending long term unpaid internships which price out young people from careers they could be great at, and deprive businesses of talent. 

It would also provide employers with clarity on the law. So it's no surprise that two-thirds (65%) of businesses back this proposal, with only one-in-ten (12%) opposing it. 

The facts

  • YouGov polling shows that two-thirds (65%) of businesses want to see a four week limit introduced. The proposal is supported by businesses of all sizes and in a range of industries.
  • YouGov: 74% of people said that they (or someone from a family like theirs) could not afford to do an unpaid internship in London.
  • YouGov: Just 12% of HR managers understand that companies may be breaking the law if they offer unpaid internships

Rt Hon Alan Milburn, Government Adviser on Social Mobility"Unpaid internships are still far too common and lock out talent from entering a chosen career..."

"...Legislation clearly banning unpaid internships lasting longer than 4 weeks should be introduced."

Businesses support us

Christian May, Institute of Directors: "I think in this day and age it is getting harder and harder to justify a situation where someone essentially works for you for a number of weeks, particularly over a month, and you are simply not paying them."

Charlie Mullins, Pimlico Plumbers: "It’s completely reprehensible for companies to expect interns, or anyone else, to work without pay. This type of practice is without doubt exploitation of workers, many of whom are young and inexperienced, and in today’s job market find themselves with little choice but to work for free in the hope that they might be lucky enough to land an actual paid position.

"This is completely unacceptable behaviour, and that’s why I’m backing Intern Aware’s call for all interns to be paid for any work period that lasts more than four weeks."

Liz Bingham, EY: "Internships are jobs and should be treated as such. I would like to see all internships paid for. Young people deserve to be paid for the work that they do on internships – it’s reprehensible when they are not."

This proposal has been drafted by a leading employment barrister, and could be easily implemented as secondary legislation (meaning the Government could choose to introduce the limit tomorrow).

Are you one of the two-thirds of businesses that support fair internships and would like to consider supporting this proposal? Please email us for more information at info@internaware.org.