Unpaid internships are still scandalously prolific. Covid has been appalling for so many, in so many ways. Perhaps a lesser known impact has been the rise in unpaid internships which has accompanied the pandemic.

Firms claiming, Covid related, their inability to pay so ask; “come along, give of your work for free and maybe, but, who knows, there may be a real job at the end of it?”

It is for this reason that I was delighted to take the opportunity of Lord Hendy’s ‘Status of Workers’ Private Members Bill to push the case for an end to this pernicious practice and pay interns.

Lord Hendy’s Bill would create a single status for workers by amending the meaning of “employee”, “worker”, “employer” and related expressions in existing employment legislation.

The effect of the Bill would be to give entitlement to all statutory employment rights to all workers from day one of their engagement.

Lord Hendy, House of Lords, 10th September 2021

I have campaigned on this issue for many years through my own Private Members Bill and will be drawing on that Bill to put forward amendments to Lord Hendy’s Bill.

In the House of Lords today I spoke about the need for this amendment:

House of Lords, 10th September 2021

The statistics are shocking:

  • 83% of college students say they have had to undertake an unpaid internship
  • 52% of university students say the same
  • 62% of young people report unpaid internships of over 4 weeks
  • 16% of young people report unpaid internships of over six months

Social mobility is yet another casualty of the Covid pandemic.

Lord Chris Holmes, House of Lords, 10th September 2021

It’s time to put unpaid internships firmly in the past, a pernicious practice: unpaid internships- be gone.

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