Officials are worried that employers are illegally using unpaid internships for free labor

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[h1]Looking for Experience, Providing Free Labor[/h1][h6]By STEVEN GREENHOUSE[/h6][h6]Published: April 2, 2010[/h6]
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.

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[h6]Matthew Cavanaugh for The New York Times[/h6]
Brittany Berckes, a senior at Amherst, noted that some students could not afford to work free.

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[h6]Tina Fineberg for The New York Times[/h6]
Dana John, a senior at New York University, spent much of a summer internship doing clerical work for a company that books music acts.

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.

The Labor Department says it is cracking down on firms that fail to pay interns properly and expanding efforts to educate companies, colleges and students on the law regarding internships.

“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,
 
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Many less affluent students say they cannot afford to spend their summers at unpaid internships, and in any case, they often do not have an uncle or family golf buddy who can connect them to a prestigious internship.

Brittany Berckes, an Amherst senior who interned at a cable news station that she declined to identify, said her parents were not delighted that she worked a summer unpaid.

“Some of my friends can’t take these internships and spend a summer without making any money because they have to help pay for their own tuition or help their families with finances,
 
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back in the day when I was interning at this firm I had to put up with so much #+%! I would want to kick my boss in the chest everyday

thank god I own my own business now
 
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Originally Posted by mondaynightraw

unpaid internship=slavery

you should never ever have to work for free
Its true but if it opens another door for you then its something that should be considered. If I get this internship (unpaid) at the DAs office I'm taking it without any hesitation.
 
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Originally Posted by Lex Starks

Originally Posted by mondaynightraw

unpaid internship=slavery

you should never ever have to work for free
Its true but if it opens another door for you then its something that should be considered. If I get this internship (unpaid) at the DAs office I'm taking it without any hesitation.
I feel you to a certain extent..i just feel that most employers take advantage of it. They'll try to get you to work there for 6+ months to then let you go...
 
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It's funny because an unpaid internship is what got me to where I am right now, working for a great company and opening my own online business soon. Unpaid internships are FINE in my book, as long as you are working part time (like 1-2 days a week I'd say), 8-12 hours a week.
 
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I would NEVER work an unpaid internship, a degree on top of some hard work and a few good contacts will take you anywhere that you want to go.
 
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Originally Posted by DB WEST

I would NEVER work an unpaid internship, a degree on top of some hard work and a few good contacts will take you anywhere that you want to go.
...said the 19 year old from Detroit.  Keep droppin that life knowledge, Son!
  
 

ham city

Banned
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Originally Posted by 91mph Style

Originally Posted by DB WEST

I would NEVER work an unpaid internship, a degree on top of some hard work and a few good contacts will take you anywhere that you want to go.
...said the 19 year old from Detroit.  Keep droppin that life knowledge, Son!
  
 
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lol.
That's what I've been saying for a few years now.
An unpaid internship (aka apprenticeship) is fine so long as one is actually learning a trade/skill/ business.

Most of today's internships are nothing but free labor for employers who do not want to/cannot afford to hire a (near) minimum wage employee.
 
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Originally Posted by wawaweewa

lol.
That's what I've been saying for a few years now.
An unpaid internship (aka apprenticeship) is fine so long as one is actually learning a trade/skill/ business.

Most of today's internships are nothing but free labor for employers who do not want to/cannot afford to hire a (near) minimum wage employee.
Exactly.  I have a paid internship, but I'm mostly doing pretty remedial stuff around the firm.  I mean, I get to learn about the environment a bit, but that's about it.  I could see how unpaid ones could easily become a shield for exploitation.
 
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Use good judgment about anything you're investing your time in. For a lot of you in the 'interning' years of your life, this route is inevitable. But I would hope you're intuitive enough to understand whether it is worth it, or you're truly being taken advantage of.

...You cannot put a price on experience.
 
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Originally Posted by Lex Starks

Originally Posted by mondaynightraw

unpaid internship=slavery

you should never ever have to work for free
Its true but if it opens another door for you then its something that should be considered. If I get this internship (unpaid) at the DAs office I'm taking it without any hesitation.
haha I'm tryin to get a legal internship with the DAs office. it's nuts how it's unpaid but people are almost killing each other to get it.
 
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Originally Posted by Lex Starks

Originally Posted by mondaynightraw

unpaid internship=slavery

you should never ever have to work for free
Its true but if it opens another door for you then its something that should be considered. If I get this internship (unpaid) at the DAs office I'm taking it without any hesitation.
That's the only reason people do them. 
 
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