I don’t see a penny of it

I am 23 years old, graduated two years ago and am currently on my second internship. I do a full 42.5 hour week for a public affairs organisation, and I pretty much get given anything that’s going spare….in short I’m completely disillusioned with the political scene.

I am proud that we have a minimum wage in this country, however a lot of companies bypass the law by offering “internships” which amount to unpaid full time work. I am doing this internship in a desperate attempt to get some paid work. I am in a very bad financial situation because of it, and I’m unsure how I will pay my rent and other bills at the end of next month. Something seems seriously wrong about this, I have a degree yet I’m only good enough to work for free? Where else in the world would refined educated knowledge go for free? 

The company I currently work for clearly need the labour, they’re just not prepared to pay for it. The work that I do for free is sent to a paying client and I don’t see a penny of it. I don’t see how this can be legal and I don’t understand why no one has done anything to rectify it. In light of this could someone please provide an answer to the following questions:

Is the concept of an “internship” legal?

If not, can I claim any money from my employer?

Will anyone adhere to or enforce this country’s minimum wage rules and stop this blatant exploitation of young labour?

Be the first to like this post.

1 Response to “I don’t see a penny of it”

  1. 1 Mark Watson 08/04/2009 at 7:04 am


    To answer your question, internships can be unpaid but only under very specific circumstances. Work experience is an exception to the minimum wage regulations where it involves a full time student doing the placement as part of their course. If that does not apply to you then you could be unpaid as a “volunteer” if this organisation is not giving you work they expect you to do or times they expect you to attend ie that you are free to come and go as you like and do whatever work you choose to do.

    If neither of those apply then you may well be due the minimum wage. If you have been “interning” for this organisation for a month you are owed around £1000. And if you would like any help on how to go about claiming that money or any general advice on the subject then please feel free to drop me an email (derrywatson@gmail.com), I have helped a number of people make claims like this and am always keen to help more; it is a disgraceful state of affairs that people like you are being deprived of their legal rights - and cash!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <pre> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Interns Anonymous

We want this website to be a forum for interns to share their experiences and discuss the ethics of unpaid employment. Most importantly, we want this site to be a place where YOU can tell us your story.

We are now on Twitter

  • Proof Simon Hughes doesn't care about social mobility. Breaking NMW law in his own office. What a hypocrite. http://bit.ly/fV8yOA 8 hours ago

Survey for parliamentary interns

Are you or have you been an unpaid parliamentary intern? If yes then please take our anonymous survey on the experiences of Westminster interns. You can find the survey by clicking the ‘survey’ link at the top of the website.


Interns Anonymous accept no responsibility for the contents of the blog, comments or any other content on this site that is posted or provided by third parties. This website is designed to act as a forum for interns to share experiences and opinions about their work, therefore, we will not censor opinions we do not agree with. The opinions stated in blog contributions do not represent those of Interns Anonymous. We will refrain from mentioning organisations and individuals by name. We disclaim all liability for such content to the fullest extent permitted by law. If you have any queries please email us.