Hi, I’m Ben Lyons, I founded Internaware, a campaign group against unpaid internships.
It’s worth having a conversation with the employer on this.
I know a lot of people don’t want to cause trouble because they want to get a job at the place where they interned, but if you’ve moved on and want to claim backpay, it’s worth having a conversation with the employer about it.
If that doesn’t work, HMRC is the best first option. They also name and shame employers who don’t pay, which Internaware pushed them to do.
It can sometimes be worth contacting the media as well. There’s a significant media appetite for these stories and where these cases have been publicised, the employer normally ends up paying interns.
Since we launched Internaware, I think we helped to turn the culture in the UK against unpaid internships. When the government asked me to help write the advice on internships on gov.uk, I could tell we were making a difference.
And I think now the vast majority of people and business think interns should be paid, which means organisations offering unpaid internships are more sensitive to pressure.
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