The details regarding 100 companies that are contravening the law by allowing unpaid interns to work at paid positions at the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), have been released by the Minister for Employment, Jo Swinson. In an interview with Intern Aware, she said that the HMRC can use these claims as intelligence against these companies.
She wrote to the campaign group stating her gratitude to Intern Aware for their assistance in uncovering the practice. The HMRC will use the list of employers as intelligence which is usually used to expose sectors where employers are not following the law.
It is against the law to fill permanent positions, which are subject to minimum wage regulations, with interns, who do not get paid. Intern Aware has been pushing the HMRC to investigate this practice, and Ben Lyons, the Co-Director, has expressed his pleasure for the initiative that Ms. Swinson has shown in passing the list to HMRC, saying that this is the beginning of an honorable restructuring process.
The HMRC, on the other hand, have said that they cannot comment on an individual investigation, The Department of Business, through their spokesman, have said that the law governing Minimum Wage is very clear, and that anybody who is working as an intern, in a paid position is entitled to the minimum wage under the NMW legislation.
The Department states that internships give valuable experience to young people who are just entering the job market. The Pay and Work Rights helpline is available to anyone who feels they are being exploited. Through this channel, their call will be passed on to the HMRC who will take appropriate action against the offending employer.