Unpaid Internships, The Future
Unpaid interns, listen up, you may be getting paid VERY soon.
The New York Times reported that the federal Labor Department is now looking into unpaid internships, since they may be a direct violation of minimum wage labor laws. The federal commissioner, Patricia Smith, and her team are now cracking down on companies who do not pay interns properly.
This new crack down on internship jobs seems to come along with the worst economic climate since the Great Depression. And post graduates are now using unpaid internships to launch their future careers (take a look at this article: Jobs & Graduates).
In the NY Times article, interns are quoted (both by name and anonymously) that they were hired for an educational internship and they spent the semester or summer “wiping off door handles” or “sweeping bathrooms” – and all for no money. Stanford reports postings of 643 unpaid internships on their job board this year – compared with a mere 174 two years ago.
In general, it seems that a plethora of these unpaid internships have good intentions by providing interns with a quality, educational training experience, contacts for the future and a possible paid job offer at the end. But some companies are taking advantage of this latest craze and hiring free, slave labor – a trend that the Labor Department hopes to put an end to.
As Nancy J. Leppink, acting director of the Department’s wage and hour division, says, “If you’re a for-profit employer or you want to pursue an internship with a for-profit employer, there aren’t going to be many circumstances where you can have an internship and not be paid and still be in compliance with the law” [please see Reference below].
Therefore, the future of the post graduate job may be changing soon. The college graduate may be paid for their 9 to 5 job, instead of moonlighting as a server, bartender, caterer or retail salesperson.
Can you imagine going to work and getting paid for it? What a concept.
“The Unpaid Intern, Legal or Not” by Steven Greenhouse, Business section of The New York Times, April 2, 2010.