BBC accused of exploitation over an unpaid job advert

The BBC has been accused of exploitation following a job advertisement looking for seven candidates to work for free.

The role was as a volunteer for the annual Wimbledon tennis tournament, but the broadcaster has been criticised for the advert following the revelation that the workers would not be paid for their time.

A two-week contract to work 40 hours per week is on offer, with successful candidates receiving £15 a day to reimburse travel and food costs.

The advert was posted on the BBC careers website and said that candidates would be working behind the scenes at the All-England club, ‘running errands, general office duties, assisting commentators including delivering refreshments, meeting programme guests and distributing press releases’.

The BBC has now edited the job advert, removing a controversial requirement that ‘physical fitness is essential’. They have also clarified that the posting is for a work experience placement and is not a job.

A BBC statement said, “We have amended the original advert to accurately reflect the placements on offer – they are work experience and not jobs and are governed by strict rules, including paying expenses to cover food and travel costs.

“Work experience placements are limited to a maximum of ten days and never include activities that we would normally pay someone to do.”

Working unpaid is a controversial subject, with official Government guidelines on internships stating that if an internship involves shadowing an employee then the employer doesn’t have to pay the minimum wage.

Tanya de Grunwald, Founder of Graduate Fog, said: “This is not work experience – this is work. Okay, these placements only last two weeks – but they fail our fair internships test on both grounds: exploitation and exclusion.”

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Donna Martin

Donna Martin

Partner at Mackrell Turner Garrett
Donna Martin is a Partner in the Employment team at Mackrell Turner Garrett’s London office. She advises both employers and employees on a full range of contentious and non-contentious issues. As an employment law expert, Donna has significant experience in drafting employment contracts and handbooks, advising on grievance and disciplinary procedures and preparatory work prior to tribunals, including advising on the advantages and disadvantages of settling cases.