The Unpaid Intern, Legal or Not

NY Times:

The Unpaid Intern, Legal or Not

With job openings scarce for young people, the number of unpaid internships has climbed in recent years, leading federal and state regulators to worry that more employers are illegally using such internships for free labor.

Convinced that many unpaid internships violate minimum wage laws, officials in Oregon, California and other states have begun investigations and fined employers. Last year, M. Patricia Smith, then New York’s labor commissioner, ordered investigations into several firms’ internships. Now, as the federal Labor Department’s top law enforcement official, she and the wage and hour division are stepping up enforcement nationwide.

Many regulators say that violations are widespread, but that it is unusually hard to mount a major enforcement effort because interns are often afraid to file complaints. Many fear they will become known as troublemakers in their chosen field, endangering their chances with a potential future employer.

Btw, guess who has an unpaid intern program – the NY Times! It seems a little odd that you don’t even have to be majoring in journalism ti be an intern there.

That is sort of funny. :smiley: My guess, though, is that doing an internship for academic credit (which is what the NY Times requires for their interns) rather than pay is an example of a legitimate unpaid internship. The article is probably talking about places that are utilizing unpaid interns without giving them any sort of academic credit or any other tangible benefit.

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