Don’t Roll Over For Unpaid Internships

Two Dogs at Doggie Day Care

Well done to dog day care workers’ who pointed out these unpaid internships in the fairly invisible Dog Care Industry. See The Times article below:

Workers in the Dog Care industry are mostly young and mostly female but always do everything they can to make sure your dog has a great day while you are away. But most of them work for minimum wage and – as we learned in this article – many are not even paid that! Unpaid internships are against labour regulations in Ireland. Any manager in Ireland should know that, especially those who deal with interns.

Therefore, national minimum wage rates apply to work experience placements, work trials, internships and any other employment practice involving unpaid work or working for room and board, regardless of the duration of the engagement.

Workplace Relations Commission –

Paul Murphy, Dublin South-West TD for People Before Profit, called this out in the Dáil on Thursday 16/9/2021 ( But it was people who were working there who it affected most and took action to stop it.

Did labour inspectors find it? No. Fun fact: there may actually be more dog wardens and inspectors than labour inspectors in Ireland! The numbers vary, but about 60 for dogs to around 50 for labour.

Did officials from a union find it? No. It’s an unorganised industry in Ireland. The unions haven’t really taken an active interest the industry yet. But articles about the industry and raise public awareness so publicising this is helpful to the cause.

Did the managers call it out at a meeting? No. Could they even say no to the owner without risking their job? Their job is to help increase profits- that means getting more profitable free work from helpful people. Calling the owner out might get them in trouble.

Here, the workers in the industry themselves discussed the problem and took action together.

If you want to sort out your workplace problems, and your boss has said ‘no’ what do you do? You speak up with your colleagues. You meet up however you can. And you start talking up your workplace with unions and your PBP branch reps or Trade Union Department.

The end of these illegal unpaid internships or at worst their ‘reclassification’ will be due to workers organising with each other. They chose to put the message out to People Before Profit because we are a party they can depend on to stand up and speak for workers- 100%. No flip-flopping about it. We’ll be there for any workers organising against illegal or exploitative conditions or pay.

We believe workers have the answers. The best people to fix a messy industry is a solid, active, growing union branch. That means workers who know their industry and workplaces regularly discussing and taking action in their workplaces.

Remember: Workplaces and industries with unions on average are ranked safer, more secure and better rewarded than those without unions. It pays to organise.

People Before Profit encourages everyone with a job to talk about what’s happening in your workplace. If your business owner doesn’t want a union, there’s the first reason you need one.

Don’t let your job go to the dogs… Get Organised. And if you want help or advice call your union or if you don’t know what union to go to contact the Trade Union Department in People Before Profit.

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