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Unpaid office space internships must be legal

The rise in unpaid interns in the office space is a clear trend.

As graduates battle it out for fewer and fewer roles in both the public and private sector, they are increasingly keen to differentiate themselves from their rivals by doing some work placements.

However, the legal implications of taking on unpaid interns needs to be clarified for many employers.

According to new research released by Internocracy, just 12 per cent of managers understand that using interns in the office space could lead to them breaking the law.

Internocracy chief executive officer Becky Heath said: “When such low numbers of young people and employers actually understand the rights interns have in the workplace, it’s no wonder that exploitation is rife in popular sectors where competition for experience is fierce.”

She added that businesses should avoid filling their office spaces with unpaid interns and using them as “free labour” as this can have serious legal ramifications.

Small businesses, however, are calling on the government to extend its popular graduate internship scheme, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.

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