Saturday, April 3, 2010
Au Revoir to Our Interns
The New York Times reports that "state investigators" are looking into the practice of not paying interns and possibly pressing charges against some businesses. I have worked with interns for years and never paid them and, frankly, I wouldn't dream of paying them.
Internships--at least the way we've conducted them--are an extension of school, not a job. If you want a job, get a job, but don't confuse what an intern does with us as something that is equivalent to what an employee does. This is teaching and learning, not instruction and compliance.
We have--from what I've seen so far--an attorney general who's a little cracked and a whole lot ambitious, a guy who wants to keep the press lights on himself. My guess is he'd love to get his teeth into a publication, especially one that has criticized him.
With that in mind, I will not again bring in an intern to FRONT and I will not be happy about it because working with these kids is a true joy.
The NYTimes story says there are "six legal criteria (here) that must be satisfied for internships to be unpaid. Among those criteria are that the internship should be similar to the training given in a vocational school or academic institution, that the intern does not displace regular paid workers and that the employer 'derives no immediate advantage' from the intern’s activities — in other words, it’s largely a benevolent contribution to the intern."
Pretty vague stuff that would require considerably more record-keeping than I want to get involved in.