The end of unpaid internships?

Last month Intern Aware contacted Jo Swinson MP, Minister for Employment Relations at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. We sent Jo a list of 100 unpaid internships that campaigners had submitted to us that appeared to be in breach of National Minimum Wage Law.

Unpaid internships are exploitative, exclusive and often illegal. By asking young people to work for free, they exclude those who cannot afford to and limit their potential. In a recent poll for Intern Aware by Survation, 84% of people over 35 said that a young person in their family could not afford to do an unpaid internship in London.

Despite the government admitting that many unpaid internships break National Minimum Wage Law, until today very little action had been promised to tackle the problem. Today we received this reply to our letter from Jo, confirming that HMRC are using the evidence we submitted to enforce the law. This is extremely welcome.


If you want to submit an unpaid internship you’ve seen to the government for enforcement action, tell us about it here.

There’s still a lot further to go, but we are determined to ensure that unpaid internships end and everyone is paid a fair salary for the work that they do.