A British teenager worked at a convenience store for 10 weeks in hopes of making enough cash to buy Christmas presents. But when it came time to get paid, the store owner told the teen he wouldn't get any money because he had been on an unpaid internship.
Jay El-Leboudy, 15, told the Canterbury Times that he wanted to earn some spending money for the holidays. So his mother, Zoe Buckwell, got her son a job at the store through a family friend. El-Leboudy worked at the store twice a week from 5:30 until around 9 p.m. But 10 weeks later, El-Leboudy hadn't been paid a pound.
“He was getting quite worried, as he was hoping to have his money in time to buy Christmas presents,” Buckwell told the Canterbury Times.
That's when the store owner said that El-Leboudy wouldn't be getting a cent, much less a pound, because the teenager was underage and, therefore, just an unpaid intern rather than a paid employee.
"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,” the store owner, whose name wasn't published, told the Canterbury Times. “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 store owner said that he can't pay El-Leboudy, but he did have the underage minor trail suspected thieves.
“The law says he's not allowed to work and because we sell alcohol, he's not allowed in lots of areas, but he is allowed to follow people around.”
Despite the store owner's insistence that the law prevents him from paying El-Leboudy, Metro reported that as false. “Children under the age of 16 aren’t entitled to minimum wage, however anyone aged 14 or older can work and be paid,” the British paper stated.
There's no word yet on whether the shop owner will change his mind. Meanwhile, the mother has set up a fundraiser for her son that has raised more than $100.
"The light at the end of the tunnel is how wonderful the local community have been supporting Jay,” Buckwell told the Mirror. "Although Jay has been really let down, it has not put him off wanting another job.