Unpaid Internships and the Law Essay

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Introduction Internships play an important role in the career development and recruitment process of young professionals and soon-to-be college graduates. Internships come in two forms: paid and unpaid. Paid internships are most commonly procured in the private sector or in organizations that have financial stability to pay students to gain experience and learn while they work. Unpaid internships are becoming increasingly common in the current workplace where some businesses are cutting costs and downsizing due to economic struggles. The following paper will show the negative effects of unpaid internships and how unpaid internships challenge ethical business practices. Causes Internships are becoming the norm in today’s ever changing…show more content…
The economic recession of the mid 2000s is most often blamed for the rise in unpaid internships. While a statistic regarding the amount of unpaid internships offered each year is not calculated, research shows that anywhere between 20-40% of all internships offered are unpaid. Given the opportunity afford by gaining experience and building a network, internship seekers are most often willing to give up pay in return for the above benefits. In 2010, the Obama administration issued legislative change to the way internships are handled and classified. While all employers are legally required to pay employees at least minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act, an exception exists within the Fair Labor Standards Act in regards to employment of interns. The 2010 amendment provided a list of 6 criteria that must be met in order to be in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act: (1) the internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment, (2) the internship experience is for the benefit of the intern, (3) the intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff, (4) the employer proves the training derives no immediate advantage
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