Samantha Cameron’s fashion brand reported for 'breaking employment rules'

'For all the claims that Mrs Cameron’s new label is ‘chic’, this behaviour is just plain cheap,' says campaigner

Olivia Petter
Saturday 02 November 2019 17:28

Samantha Cameron’s fashion label Cefinn has been reported to minimum wage officials after advertising for an unpaid internship.

The popular workwear brand is currently looking for a PR and marketing intern to carry out tasks such as market research, sample management and production assistance. No salary was stated for the position, which is understood to have been for a three month-long period.

Cefinn confirmed the role was unpaid in a now-deleted tweet in response to a prospective applicant.

Careers site Graduate Fog, whose campaigns have been supported by Gina Miller, has since reported the company to HMRC.

Employment laws state that anyone classified as a worker should be paid at least minimum wage, a definition that is based on that person turning up for work every day, working set hours undertaking tasks that benefit the company.

But HMRC says people doing placements are not counted as workers.

Graduate Fog’s founder, Tanya de Grunwald, explained that unpaid internships such as this one exploit workers and limit the number of eligible applicants to those who can afford to work for free.

“What is Samantha Cameron thinking? This advert clearly describes a skilled job involving real work – which means that Cefinn should offer a proper, legal wage,” Grunwald said.

“Without pay, this CV-boosting opportunity is only open to those who can afford to work for free – everyone else is automatically excluded. For all the claims that Mrs Cameron’s new label is ‘chic’, this behaviour is just plain cheap.”

Graduate Fog claims it has made several attempts to contact Cefinn to no avail.

Cameron launched Cefinn in 2017 with the aim of creating “chic, grown-up fashion for the multitasking urban woman”.

Dresses on the website cost between £200 and £400, with jackets going up to £480.

The Independent has contacted Cefinn for further comment.

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