Enforcing the law on the minimum wage is difficult

The BBC has just reported that the MP Lyn Brown, who has previously “campaigned tirelessly for a living wage for all” (according to her website) is now recruiting an unpaid worker for her House of Commons office.

A living wage is even higher than the minimum wage – and is supposed to allow the employee to meet their basic needs. Ms Brown has been an advocate for this and campaigning that everyone should get paid for their work (in London the living wage is £8.60 per hour) but has now advertised and recruited a volunteer for an unspecified time frame.

Although the term “volunteer” is used, by not paying the intern Ms Brown could still be breaking the law if there is some sort of implied contract (and this is not part of their studies). If the intern is required to do any duties, or turn up at any time, then this constitutes a contract. Apparently Lyn Brown then goes on say that she wants to pay everyone, but lacks sufficient resources. A great reason for recruiting an unpaid worker, yes, but not exactly something that will stand up in a court of law!

It will be interesting to see how she justifies this – and whether she thinks she is adhering to the law.

More information can be found on the BBC website click here

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