From the TUC

Isn’t it ironic – why does a Government website let employers ignore the minimum wage?

26 Nov 2010, by in Labour market

The TUC has been chasing the Government for some time to police the Graduate Talent Pool website properly. Although there are a fair number of good internship opportunities on this site, it is not actively moderated, so rip-offs are also plentiful.

At any one time about a third to a half of the placements on offer appear to ignore the National Minimum Wage by offering unpaid work. Adverts that appear to contravene employment rights should certainly not be allowed on the GTP site.

We’d have concerns about 386 of the current 796 postings on the site, but I want today to highlight just one offer that stands out as the most ironic.

Below is an extract from an advert for an unpaid “Book Keeper Assistant Assistant Volunteer” (sic) post for an entrepreneur selling “Property Tax Expertise”. Take a good look at what is being asked for here, because it looks to me like this is simply an employee job wearing a thin disguise.

Surely it borders on the masochistic when the Government allows people who are trying to reduce the Exchequer’s tax revenue to display free adverts for unpaid graduate workers.

Book Keeper Assistant Assistant Volunteer

Job categories Administration
Finance, including management consultancy
Paid / unpaid Not paid
Job description Data entry from receipts and expenses onto an Excel spreadsheet

  • Processed double entry bookkeeping of fully integrated accounts inc. all lead schedules on Excel;
  • Reviewed and finalised of financial accounts on Sage, typing of letters and signed off by Nina
  • Credit control include calling up customers and suppliers to chase bad debts
Person requirements Accounting knowledge

  • Confident user of all Office Applications, Email and Internet desired
  • Understand basic accounting principles
  • Reconcile and agree accounts (Bank, PAYE, VAT)
  • Enter income and expenses into systems
  • Prepare information for VAT returns

Proficient with the following systems: Sage (UK)

Knowledge and preparation of management accounts (desirable)

Other attributes for ALL volunteers:

  • Relationship building & positivity skills a must
  • Tenacity & persistence skills required
  • Essentially enthusiasm and willingness to learn is crucial
  • Fluent in written and spoken English
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office
  • Be a self starter and self manager
  • Able to work from home, but still maintain good communications with the team
  • Be aligned with our mission and values below
  • Proactive in seeking solutions to problems
  • Good attention to detail
  • Flexible with work hours. Initially there will be more work during the training and handover phase and then the expected workload would be around from one to five days per week depending on what the volunteer student can deliver.
Degree requirements Degree in Accounting or a subject related to Accounting is preferable
Subject(s) Business, Finance, Management and Accountancy
Any Numerate Subject

2 Responses to Isn’t it ironic – why does a Government website let employers ignore the minimum wage?

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    Nov 26th 2010, 12:27 pm

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  2. Mary B
    Nov 27th 2010, 7:59 am

    Absolutely disgraceful. That site (and others) are littered with this kind of thing. HMRC seem utterly uninterested in enforcing the Minimum Wage regulations when it comes to young people, despite the fact that they are also foregoing huge amounts of tax on unpaid wages.

    And when will the Low Pay Commission notice this is going on and act upon it?