The law that makes unpaid internships lawful will ‘promote exploitation.’

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A LAW to legalise unpaid internships will allow unscrupulous employers to take advantage of more young people, campaigners have warned.

More than 3,000 people have signed a petition protesting the Unpaid Work Experience Bill.

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It proposes to legalise internships with no pay of up to four weeks, as long as they are classed as “work experience”.

Andrew Loader, organiser of the No To Four Weeks petition, says the change would “prop up and legitimise exploitation”.

He said firms taking part in the scheme “will be able to use work experience as an excuse for a vacancy being unpaid. Mr Loader added: “It will be easily taken advantage of, resulting in more unpaid internships – as National Minimum Wage becomes harder to enforce.”

More than 600 unpaid internships are being advertised on LinkedIn, despite them being illegal under UK law if the intern is classed as a worker or an employee.

When 72,000 people recently voted on whether interns ought to be paid in a LinkedIn poll, 90 percent said they should.

The Cibyl Graduate Survey for last year revealed 43 percent of students had done an unpaid internship.

In 2020, the Sutton Trust found the average cost for an intern to work for free was £1,093 in London and £903 in Manchester.

The Trust’s founder Sir Peter Lampl, said: “Working on no pay is nearly impossible for those who don’t have financial support from their parents. It’s crucial that those from lower income homes are able to get their foot in the door.”

LinkedIn said: “We expect everyone posting a job to follow local laws.”

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