Social Mobility – End Unpaid Internships
Law to end unpaid internships:
Chris’s commitment to improving social mobility and, above all, increasing equality of opportunity, informs much of his work in the Lords. One of the ways he is attempting to do this is through a change in the law. He has introduced a Private Members Bill that aims to limit any unpaid work experience or internships to four weeks.
Chris’s first attempt to introduce a Private Members Bill to limit unpaid internships was in June 2016. At State Opening (June 2017) he tried again and the bill was given its first reading on 27th June 2017. Now on a fresh attempt, the Bill was introduced on Monday 13th January 2020.
Unpaid internships leave young people in a Catch 22 situation; unable to get a job because they haven’t got experience and unable to get experience because they can’t afford to work for free. The situation clearly advantages those already advantaged enough to be in a position to work for free. Chris hopes his Bill will end what he describes as a “stain on our society”
Chris is calling for support from all sides of the house and is hopeful that the appetite for change on this important issue will lead to Government support for such an important issue. There is also much support from the business community and various organisations.
- A four week limit is supported by two-thirds of businesses, with only one-in-eight opposing the legislation. There are consistently high levels of support from across a range of industries, and from businesses of all sizes. (YouGov, 2014)
- Leading businesses including KPMG, PwC, Ernst & Young, AXA UK, Pimlico Plumbers and the PR industry trade association (PRCA) support a four week limit. Employer representatives including the Institute of Directors, Arts Council, UK Music, Creative Skillset and the Royal Institute of British Architects all oppose long term unpaid internships.
- The Government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, the Sutton Trust, the Social Mobility Foundation and IPPR all support the introduction of a four week limit.