MPs who employ interns on no pay could be breaching employment laws, the
TUC said today. They are demanding that the Low Pay Commission
investigate the employment of young people on unpaid internships –
especially in Parliament and the media. Responding, Michael Fabricant
says "I do not employ any unpaid interns or other staff. I do know,
though, that this is common practice among some MPs who also employ
close relatives who are paid ‘pocket money’ out of Parliamentary
allowances. But I find that the employment of interns is a false
"While I recognise that work experience is very valuable, the time taken
to train temporary unpaid staff distracts from the work we have to do to
look after constituents. And by the time they are fully trained,
interns are back at school or university."
The TUC say they do not want to block genuine work experience but fear
that the system could lead to exploitation. Adverts placed by some MPs
for interns have required candidates to be available five days a week,
to have good office skills but have offered no pay.