Saturday, January 28, 2012

Unpaid Internships: Legal or Not?

Clearing out the links this week, I found this interesting article from the Village Voice talking about unpaid internships and whether they flout the law? Students like it because it gives them valuable experiences, universities feel that they are a huge part of the academic curriculum, and businesses really like it because they get free labor. But the U.S. Department of Labor warned that it may not be so kosher:
[Some internships] could actually violate state- and federal-labor laws. The Department of Labor guidelines stress that "the internship experience is for the benefit of the intern," and for-profit employers are supposed to derive "no immediate advantage from the activities" of the unpaid interns. Indeed, business operations "may actually be impeded" in order to train the intern, who should "not displace regular employees."
It's a three-page article and certainly one to check out. Although some internships are beneficial for everyone involved, many employers who are trying to take advantage of free labor instead of hiring more workers may get a knock on their door soon. Make sure that your internship program is a fair one within the confines of the guidelines by reading through this article and consulting your local regulations.

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