June 30, 2008
The obnoxious Sean Avery of the New York Rangers (that’s hockey – like baseball, but with a puck, a stick, skates and ice) made a splash when we learned earlier this month that he was an intern at Vogue Magazine. It turns out that the millionaire got a preferential treatment: he was paid minimum wage.
New York Mag has contacted former interns at Vogue and found a different reality:
For example, Sean is getting minimum wage for his work at the magazine, while real interns don’t get paid a dime.
Why did Vogue pay Avery a minimum wage and not its other interns?
June 28, 2008
Students in Ontario may wat to take note of the program ACCELERATE where the provincial government provides CAD $16.89 millions over 4 years. Each internship will last 4 months and be paid about CAD $15,000. Sounds very reasonable. Even better is the structure of the experience:
Graduate student researchers will spend a minimum of 50 per cent of their time over a four-month period at a company, undertaking research on a problem jointly identified by the intern, business, a supervising professor, and MITACS, which is a federally funded network of Centres of Excellence that is managing the internship program.
June 27, 2008
Well well, who would’ve guessed: Fox News think that going unpaid is just the way to go. Of course, they don’t bring up any argument that hasn’t been mentioned before: it’s good for networking, it gets you experience, etc. But still, they fail to explain why it justifies being un(der)paid.
They should have stopped after their lead:
You arise with the sun, get to work by nine, stay at the office until six or later, but come Friday when paychecks go out, you’re left empty handed. Sound familiar? You must be living the depressing life of an unpaid intern.
June 26, 2008
If a magazine has 80 employees and 40 interns, could it be that there’s something wrong?
Much like there is no free lunch, there is no free labour. It’s against the law in the US to hire people and not pay them. Calling them interns won’t cut it.
June 25, 2008
InternshipRatings.com is another website where you can vent about your unfair internship or praise a fair one – or just check which employers are not exploiting their interns. It sets its heart to cover all 50 states, but falls short in many states, most likely because it was created recently. It is organized clearly, especially if you’re looking for reviews in a particular state or industry. It even allows to filter results by paid or unpaid internships and reports whether an internship was “great” for compensation when at least 51% of raters agree. It has a section where interns can find advice from industry professionals. This would be a good place to advise students on how to avoid or deal with an unfair/illegal internship.
June 23, 2008
We understand that it can be daunting to report an unfair internship to the authorities, even if it can be done anonymously. What may be easier is to write an anonymous review reporting your conditions. YouIntern.com collects testimonies from interns. Feel free to talk about your good experiences, but also don’t hold back from saying out loud that some employers exploit their interns. If you were performing the duties of an employee without receiving adequate compensation, your internship is unfair. Help others avoid the trap.
Update (June 24): I just noticed that you can filter internships by compensation (paid/unpaid/credits) which is just great. I wish we could filter them by fair/unfair as there are some in both categories. It’s a testimony though to how confusing the interface is at the moment that it took me so long to find that critical function.
June 22, 2008
Lindsay Gerdes makes the case in Newsweek against pay-to-intern schemes. She says that if these companies do the heavy lifting for you, you won’t learn to get a job yourself.
A personal favourite is certainly the claim by one of those companies that paying-to-work gives access to those who are not privileged: “it makes it easier for students from schools without tight internship connections to get the experience.” “But still have $10,000 to cough up”, we may add.
June 20, 2008
The Arizona State University states the obvious: interns have better employment outlook. This blog certainly doesn’t question this assertion: it’s even the basis of the unfairness. If working for free gives you a leg up, it cancels the argument that students have the choice to take the internship or not.
This being said, make sure your future employer doesn’t question your value if all previous employers did not see the point of paying for your services. Accept only fair internships.
June 18, 2008
Once again, someone asks a lawyer what makes a fair internship in the US and they get the same answer: “Do not regard interns as a source of free labor.”
Courtney Warmington provides an interesting suggestion. Since it is recommended that employers make their unpaid interns sign a paper that informs them of the unpaid nature of the internship, why not include some language from the Fair Labour Standards Act? Ask to add that the internship will be to your benefit and that the company won’t get a substantial advantage from your intership. Remember, interns, that signing a document does not enslave you: “An employee may not waive his or her right to minimum wage by signing a document to work for free.”
June 17, 2008
Here’s a great list of the ways in which employers benefit from their interns. We only have one concern: what does Dennis Little mean when he writes “Hosting an intern allows an employer to work with a valuable contributor, trained in the latest methodologies and skills, at the lowest possible cost.” Lowest possible cost is the entry-level salary, right? Because if lowest possible is zero, then this list becomes a “how to run afoul of the law” must-dos.