UK firms accused of hiring interns then not paying them

Some very controversial details from a hundred companies were released by Employment Minister Jo Swinson which he accuses of hiring interns without paying them, breaking the employment rules, and these details could end up in the hands of intelligence officials at HMRC.

In a letter to the group, she said that he wanted to thank Intern Aware for their contribution to bring these names to light and continued help on the matter. This list of employers will be handled at HMRC with all due diligence, and sectors where this practice is common will be identified.

Employers are thought to often break the law like that in order to fill full positions with interns instead, not paying them enough, or keeping them for a long time without giving them any benefit. This goes against the minimum wage law, and Intern Aware conducted a campaign with HMRC in order to identify companies who were involved in these practices.

Ben Lyons is co-director at the organisation and he said that he was pleased the Minister was taking this issue personally, passing the list over to HMRC. He said that this was a start and much more could be done to help bring to light those who break the rules.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for HMRC declined to comment, saying that they do not speak about ongoing investigations. The Department of Business added that the law on minimum wages is very clear and that even internship workers have to be handled according to the rules. Internships can be a great way to gain experience, especially for young people, but there is always a risk of being abused like that, used for free work and never paid a dime.