In Tribunal decisions heavily backed and publicised by the NUJ and Equity, an unpaid film extra and journalist have won claims for wages.
As they won their claims on the basis that they were workers they will also be entitled to a number of other important rights, such as annual leave, and the right not to be discriminated against.
The government has recently published a strategy paper aiming to curb unpaid internships, so we can expect further developments in this area.
The DTI’s guidelines on work placements in the TV industry (one of the heaviest users of unpaid internships) also points out that the minimum wage regulations need to be complied with where they apply.
Businesses of any sort offering unpaid work experience must on the whole ensure that they do so on a strictly voluntary basis, and make it clear that there is no obligation on either side to provide, or do, any work.