Britain’s agencies are being warned this week to stop slipping
under-the-counter payments to creative placements or risk prosecution
under minimum wage legislation.
The new law introduced earlier this month entitles creative placements
to receive at least pounds 3.60 an hour - which is more than many
agencies are paying them.
Now the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising is telling member
shops they must review their arrangements or face the prospect of
investigation by the Inland Revenue or being taken to an industrial
The IPA’s move follows legal advice that agencies are not exempt from
paying the minimum wage.
As a result, it is reaffirming its advice that creative placements
should be on the payroll, have their tax deducted and their national
insurance contributions paid.
The placement system, under which young creatives fresh from art college
work for agencies on a temporary basis - and are sometimes paid a
pittance - in the hope that their talents will lead to a job offer, has
been one of the industry’s enduring controversies.
’Most agencies have not been paying the minimum wage because placements
have not been regarded as ’proper’ staff,’ Mary Budd, the IPA’s
employment affairs consultant, said. ’Some placements are just slipped
pounds 50 at the end of the week.
’Now they have to be properly rewarded and agencies that fail to do so
will be breaking the law.’
However, some within the industry are concerned that the minimum wage
will lead to fewer placement opportunities because small agencies will
have difficulty finding the extra money needed to comply with the law.