List of Illegal Internships Passed to HMRC
Minister for Employment Relations, Jo Swinson, has supplied HMRC with a list of 100 companies who are alleged to have been illegally using interns. These companies, which are thought to include household names, are accused of failing to pay their interns the National Minimum Wage.
Not all interns will be entitled to receive the National Minimum Wage. It all depends on whether they are a worker. An intern will be a worker if they personally provide services to the company, if they are under an obligation to work and if the company is under an obligation to provide them with work. If the intern must be available to work at times determined by the company and if they must actually perform tasks for the company, they will almost certainly be workers and entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage. Genuine volunteers and those who are simply shadowing and observing will not be workers and so can be unpaid. As can interns undertaking work placements of less than 1 year as part of a higher education course.
An intern’s true status is important as a number of rights and protections are derived from being a worker or an employee. Companies should take care when using interns and should not assume that interns lack rights.