What’s the Latest Development?
Tax authorities in Britain are looking at a list of 100 companies that have been accused of exploiting young people in unpaid internships by not paying them for work for which they are legally entitled to receive the minimum wage. The list was compiled by London-based activist group Intern Aware and has not been released to the public. Co-director Gus Baker estimates that there are 100,000 people in Britain working in unpaid internships, and says his is one of several groups around the world that are exposing abuse of the practice.
What’s the Big Idea?
Unpaid internships have always existed in certain sectors, such as nonprofit, but with the economic crunch and the shortage of full-time paying jobs, a wider range of companies are offering them to young people who are eager for work experience. Unfortunately, some of those people aren’t willing to complain about unfair treatment out of fear that they’ll lose what could eventually become a paying job. Hopefully in Britain this will no longer be the case: A British government spokesperson says that any future complaints they receive will go immediately to the tax department for investigation.
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