It seems like half of the "opportunities" out there are unpaid internships. I'm not sure about most people, but to me, at the point that student loans start coming in unpaid internships are of little use. Yet they are more and more being marketed towards those that are a year or so out of college. Many internships do not fulfill the legal standards to not have to pay these temporary employees, which includes:
- 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;
- The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
- The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
- The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
Some states, such as Oregon, have begun fining companies which are seeking free, illegal employment and calling them internships. For the recently graduated class of 2012, these internships can mean opportunity, but can also mean a dead end and mounting debt. The legal standards for unpaid internships are pretty outdated, based off of a 1947 Supreme Court Decision. Considering how ancient the standards are, what do you think today's standards for unpaid internships should be?