New guidelines on internships from the PRCA confirm the moral and legal obligation on employers to pay their interns.
The PRCA Intern Guidelines were compiled by the PRCA and its members and published this month.
The PRCA’s Intern Aware survey showed that 62% of all internships in PR were either unpaid or only offered expenses against just 28% paid at or above the National Minimum Wage.
Francis Ingham, the director general of the PRCA writes:
“Internships must be paid. This is a moral and a legal obligation. National Minimum Wage legislation states that all ‘workers’ in the UK that are older than the compulsory school leaving age have an entitlement to be paid at least National Minimum Wage. The PRCA is strictly against the practice of labelling interns as volunteers in order to avoid this obligation.”
The guidelines provide advice for employers and for job seekers, and have sections on diversity and remuneration.
They make a distinction between short periods of voluntary work experience and longer internships:
‘An internship is not voluntary work experience. The vast majority of internships are taken by graduates who are no longer in full-time education, or university students during their summer holidays. An intern should not consider itself a volunteer but an employee. Voluntary work experience tends to be taken by younger students as a taster to help them understand a new industry before deciding their chosen career path. Voluntary workers can work when they please and do not require a contract. Many interns are unfairly treated as work experience volunteers.’