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Chris McAndrew / CC
Chris McAndrew / CC
UK News

Christian MP's bill to stop work experience 'exploitation' gets second reading

Stockton North Labour MP Alex Cunningham has told Premier it's time to end long, unpaid work experience placements for young people.

Mr Cunningham, who’s a Christian, has put forward a Private Member's Bill that had a second reading in parliament on 11th September.

If it works its way through parliament with approval from MPs and peers, then the bill would see work experience limited to just four weeks. Currently work experience placements don't have a strict time limit, which Mr Cunningham said exploits youngsters who end up working for free, often for months on end.

The MP told Premier: "We have examples of jobs that go well beyond six months and that's what they are doing, they are doing a job, they're not having work experience.”

He was also concerned that the current situation means that only young people who can afford to live without a wage, or who live at home with their parents, are able to take part in placements that stretch for many months. 

Mr Cunningham added that the bill would also bring an end to confusion for employers who don't realise they are breaking the law by having young people working for nothing in some companies and organisations. 

While some young people will have travel and lunch expenses reimbursed, research by the Sutton Trust found that half of employers believed most unpaid internships or work experience were legal.

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