MPs oppose Clegg plan to get tough on unpaid internships

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MPs appear to be opposed to proposals from Nick Clegg to get tough on companies offering unpaid internships in order to improve social mobility.

In a survey completed by ComRes, 75 per cent out of the 116 MPs asked disagreed with banning internships where only travel expenses are paid. When it comes to banning completely unpaid internships 56 per cent of MPs surveyed disagreed with this, and 36 per cent agreed – according to the ComRes poll.

According to The Guardian, Clegg’s proposed national internship scheme would encourage companies to offer paid placements with the threat of legal challenge under minimum wage legislation for this who don’t.

Last month Press Gazette reported on a landmark payout of more than £1,000 back pay to an unpaid editorial intern by TPG Web Publishing. The publisher later argued that the Government’s position needed to be clarified.

According to the NUJ’s interpretation of the law, anyone doing more than two-weeks on a work placement could be entitled to claim back pay for the hours work. Unpaid editorial internships lasting more than two weeks are widespread across the UK journalism industry.

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