This the season for summer interns, but should you pay them?

Posted on 06-30-2014 by
Tags: Ethics , Trending News & Topics , business , Wage & Hour , trending news , billable hours

With over 35 lawsuits being filed against companies holding unpaid internships, it’s time to delve into the pros of paying your interns. Yes, it is the company’s money – I agree. But you could end up paying a lot more after one intern ventures to sue.  

With research, I’ve composed a list of 5 ways to ensure you aren’t sued if you do hire interns without pay:

  1. The intern should not being doing work that a regular employee would otherwise be doing.
  2. The internship should not benefit the company, only the intern.
  3.  The internship must be education-based, rather than profit-driven.
  4. The intern should not be promised a job after the internship ends.
  5. The intern should know he/she is not being paid.

Employers must understand that in order to compensate for not paying an intern, they must provide exceptional experience and educational opportunities.

As an intern, I have gone through the hunt for the proper internship. Any internship I took needed to provide me with: a chance to learn, a supportive atmosphere and hands-on experience in the field I wish to pursue. Notice my list doesn’t have money – which is similar to many other interns’ lists. To me, an internship serves more as a learning experience than a money-making opportunity. That being said, I would need to feel as if I am learning something valuable, if I am spending my time without being paid.

To read more about the importance of paying your interns check out these articles on the Work Knowledge Blog and Forbes.

What are your thoughts of the debate surrounding unpaid internships?   


Posted on : 22 Jul 2014 5:19 PM

My firm  pays our interns.  Regardless of the wage and employment law issues, we find that productivity is higher if an intern is paid.

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