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Parliamentary candidate removes unpaid job advert after challenge on employment rights

PUBLISHED: 16:34 07 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:29 07 September 2010

PROSPECTIVE Parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn Ed Fordham has removed an advert for an unpaid role in his campaign team following a challenge by a member of the public. The advertised role involved arranging the Liberal Democrat candidate s

PROSPECTIVE Parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn Ed Fordham has removed an advert for an unpaid role in his campaign team following a challenge by a member of the public.

The advertised role involved arranging the Liberal Democrat candidate's diary, dealing with media enquires, writing and planning press releases and working in the local campaign office, and stated the worker must be prepared to work flexible hours.

Pat Duggan claimed the role was advertised as a "full-time aide press and media officer". He wrote to Mr Fordham and said he had checked the situation with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and was told that that for a volunteer to be exempted as unpaid they must not be expected to turn up at any specific time or do any specific work.

He said: "It makes no difference whether a person agrees to work unpaid or not, or whether the advert says it is "voluntary" - it is not permissible for an employer to conspire to avoid payment in this way."

Mr Fordham confirmed the advert had been taken down but denied any mistake had been made.

He said: "The position was not a full time role and that's why it said the hours would be flexible. My team took the advert down to take advice when they received the letter from Mr Duggan. We did not take it down because it's wrong.

"I'm not aware of Mr Duggan picking up the other parties on their use of internships in the Ham&High area.

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