The Government talked tough on unpaid internships today – so Theresa May might want to have a word with one of their own ministers.
Tory Housing Minister Dominic Raab is advertising for an unpaid intern to work in his Parliamentary office.
The successful candidate can expect to be in Westminster 4 days-a-week for up to six months, but will receive only travel expenses in return.
The advert states the “volunteer position would ideally suit a gap year student or recent school leaver.”
These are the wide range of duties that the “volunteer” can expect to carry out:
The advert, which was published on the Work4MP website yesterday, provides an awkward backdrop to the Government’s newly-published response to the Taylor Review on working practice.
The Taylor Review described unpaid internships as: “An abuse of power by employers and extremely damaging to social mobility.”
And the ‘Good Work’ plan launched by Theresa May today states:
“Those who are most vulnerable should be protected, and this is why the government was concerned with the review findings that the practice of unpaid internships continues.
“Social mobility is a key priority for the government and no one should feel disadvantaged by an expectation that they should work for no money to gain the necessary skills and experience to advance their career – whatever their age, background, or chosen career.”
The Government has accepted the Review’s recommendation to stamp out “exploitative unpaid internships.”
But it highlights the legal grey area that exists between unpaid interns and “genuine volunteers” that allows Raab to advertise such a role. The Government does not plan to take any action in those cases.
The Tory MP, who lists “social mobility” as one of his main areas of political interests on his Parliamentary profile, is a repeat offender when it comes to unpaid interns.
He was publicly called out on the issue by Owen Jones on the BBC’s Daily Politics Show in 2014.
You can hear what he had to say for himself from 6 minutes 40 seconds into this video:
With Dominic Raab’s farcical appointment as housing minister, here’s my debate with him from 2014: pic.twitter.com/9hYAA39Ax9
— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) January 9, 2018
And he was caught out again last summer offering exactly the same unpaid intern role that he advertised yesterday.
At the time, Labour MP Justin Madders told Buzzfeed: “I cannot see how anyone in all conscience can take someone on for so long without pay, least of all a member of parliament.”
Tory MP Bob Seely is also currently advertising for an intern at the moment – but is offering the the London Living Wage for far fewer hours than Raab’s volunteer can expect to work.
Raab’s advert not only exposes his own hypocrisy over social mobility, but proves what the Tories are proposing to do about unpaid internships won’t stop young people being exploited.