What this article in the BBC does highlight is the continued use of unpaid internships and the confusion surrounding that.
It is clear in employment legislation that if the intern can be classified as a worker they are entitled to be paid the NMW. The tests that apply to deciding this include (but aren’t limited to):
1. does the post attract any kind of financial reward above and beyond genuine out of pocket expenses
2. does it come with the promise of future work
3. Does the intern have an obligation to turn up for work each day
There are specific instances in which an intern is not entitled to the NMW, for example if the placement is one of genuine “work experience” during a course of higher or further education, but we’d hazard a guess that many internships do not fall within those definitions.
Anecdotally, we know that many unpaid interns agree to work for free as they perceive it may be a way into a career (despite no such guarantees) and that to make a fuss about pay will “mark their card”.