Paid of course, if you ask me… but not every company in the UK (or world even) agrees with it. You may hear from companies in the UK, your University, friends etc etc that all internships in the UK are unpaid: this is not true! In fact, there are companies who pay. I myself found 2 companies within 2 weeks who pay their interns. Read about the tips on finding a paid internship.
Many people fight for better rights for interns. Many discussions on this topic can be found on the internet. Both parties have strong arguments on why internships should be paid or unpaid. Personally I find the arguments for paid internships much stronger than the opposite.
But I see many companies offer unpaid internships?!
Yes correct, unfortunately. Some companies may be breaking the law (without even knowing it) if they are not careful. Basically everyone from the EU and working in the UK has the right to recieve a minimum wage. There are a few exceptions however. One of these exceptions is non-UK students taking part in European Union’s Leonardo da Vinci, Youth in Action, Erasmus or Comenius programmes. A list of more exemptions can be found at Understanding national minimum wage law – Who is, and is not, entitled to the national minimum wage?
This means: if you are a non-UK student without one of the European scholarships (previously mentioned) you have the legal right to receive a minimum wage!
Am or was I being exploited?
If you think you are being exploited and that you should be paid the national minimum wage, you should call the Pay and Work Rights helpline (0800 917 2368) for further information.