Unpaid internships lasting longer than four weeks would be banned by Labour if it wins power in next May’s general election.
The i paper has learnt that the party will announce on Tuesday that interns working full time would be paid at least the national minimum wage after four weeks.
Labour believes that thousands of highly able young people are “locked out” of many professions because they cannot afford to work for nothing – and that companies do not always recruit the best people as a result.
The biggest change in the professional jobs market has been the boom in unpaid internships. There are now around 100,000 internship opportunities a year; most in London and many unpaid
What Liam Byrne, the shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills, will say tomorrow.
Case study: Jasmine Johnson
“When I was on my gap year I saw an internship advertised on Twitter. It was for a two-week placement at a fashion magazine but at my interview they said it could be a two-week trial period and then I could stay as long as I wanted. From the get-go it was made explicitly clear that during my time with the publication I wouldn’t be provided with any reimbursements for lunch or travel expenses.
“I had been there for about three months when the fashion assistant left. I was promoted but still wasn’t being paid.
“I don’t think unpaid internships should be banned but I think after four weeks it’s a good idea to pay interns – and they should offer you a job if there is one. I’m now doing a short-term work placement at a magazine that pays expenses, and I really like it there.”
Labour’s move follows a successful lobbying campaign by Intern Aware, set up four years ago by a group of students when their friends could not afford internships. A Facebook group attracted thousands of members in days.