A fundraising campaign has raised thousands for a student who worked at a newsstand for ten weeks only to find out his job was actually an unpaid internship.
Jay El-Leboudy took the job hoping to save up enough to buy his family Christmas presents this year. Yet when he asked his boss for wages, the British teenager was dishearteningly informed the job was just a volunteer position.
According to El-Leboudy’s mother, Zoe Buckwell, he was given his first paycheck after two weeks of working, but subsequently not given “another penny” after his initial start.
“Sadly, after ten more weeks of working there, the company never gave him another penny,” Buckwell wrote. “Excuse after excuse, they finally told him they had no intention of paying him, he was just a volunteer.”
Yet one of the owners defended his decision to the Canterbury Times:
"I gave her the fact that because he's not got a national insurance number he would not be allowed any sort of payment or anything from me. I need to tell the tax people. When he's 16 he would be allowed payment if there was a vacancy and if things work out.
The Telegraph notes that “Government’s guidelines on employment rights and pay for interns states that school ‘work experience students of compulsory school age, ie under 16, aren’t entitled to the minimum wage.’”
El-Leboudy’s spirits were crushed when he discovered he wouldn’t be able to afford any Christmas presents this year. But thanks to the goodwill of the Internet and Christmas cheer, El-Leboudy’s campaign raised over $3,500 in just over a week!
El-Leboudy has decided to use the money to buy presents for the children at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The spirit of the season is here.