Monday, May 25, 2015

3 Top Reasons Why You Should be Paying Your Interns

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As summer approaches, finding an internship is on the minds of many students and even new grads.  While each may be looking for different things from their experience, there are a couple things that all interns are looking for.


Finding an internship that will further their career is a top priority. The chance to gain valuable, marketable skills is often the main reason for wanting an internship in the first place.  


Other factors may include increasing their professional network, exploring something new, or simply testing the professional waters.


But no matter what the ultimate goal, those looking for internships all value one additional thing ~ getting paid for their work!


While many internships in the past did not pay, recent litigation arguing that the work provided by interns goes beyond the “learning” experience is forcing companies to rethink their position of interns as “free labor”.


Even the promise of gaining college credits is not enough.  Interns are increasingly demanding to be paid for their work.


While it is obvious that earning money is in the best interests of your interns, I argue that paying them is also in the best interest of your company!




3 Reasons Why Paying Your Interns is Good Business!  “Tweet This”



  • A Paying Internship will Attract a Larger Number of Quality Interns

One of the main problems with unpaid internships is that despite the incentive of increasing their experience, many need the money. Most college students and graduates are in debt.  They simply can’t afford to work for nothing.  

Their options are to forgo applying for your internship in favor of one that pays, applying for your internship and taking a paying part-time job to make ends meet, or deciding to avoid interning at all and find a paid position.

When you opt to pay your interns, your internship will become much more attractive.  This will ultimately increase your applicants and provide you with a wider range of talented applicants from which to choose.




  • Paying Your Interns Helps Protect You from Possible Litigation

An increasing number of unpaid interns have been successful in suing the companies that hired them.  Citing unfair labor practices, these interns have not only won their suits, but the companies have suffered unwanted negative publicity.

The Department of Labor has strict guidelines as to what differentiates an internship from a paid position.  An unpaid internship should be designed to provide “educational training” for the intern, without any actual benefit to the employer.  However, having interns perform duties that paid employees are doing or should be doing, is essentially having them work for free.

This is in direct violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which requires all workers be paid at least minimum wage. Therefore, if your internship is not first and foremost a learning experience, your interns deserve to be paid.

According to the FLSA, these 6 guidelines must be followed if an internship is to be unpaid;


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 that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded.

5.  The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.

6.  The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.


Photo by Roy McMahon/Corbis

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that the original purpose of an internship is to provide “educational training” and not to have interns do the work of traditional paid employees.  In the real world, this distinction can be very hard to accomplish.

To avoid potential legal problems, it just makes good business sense to Pay Your Interns.




  • Pay Equals Professionalism

For Interns ~ Pay Equals Professionalism!  

This is my Top Reason Why Paying Your Interns Makes Sense!

An intern that gets paid will take their internship more seriously. There is a fundamental feeling of satisfaction and professionalism that comes with getting paid for your work.  This is part of the experience an intern craves.  

In contrast, an unpaid intern may feel like nothing more than an observer instead of an active and important part of your team. They may feel “less than” and will be hesitant to jump in and offer their insights or even ask questions.

Paying your interns will also give them a better feeling about you and your company.  And this bodes well in the event you want to hire your best interns now or in the future.
  
The Bottom Line - Getting Paid will give Your Intern more confidence and a better stake in both the internship and your company! 


As a bonus, here is my Final Word on Hiring Interns...

Don’t Skip the Background Check!

You may question whether a background check is necessary on such a “temp” employee.

“To determine that, it is best to take a look at what your intern will be doing during their time with your company.  

Do they have access to proprietary or sensitive client information? Will they handle company funds or other valuable assets?  Do they come in contact with children, the elderly, or other vulnerable individuals?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then screening potential interns is wise.”  

excerpt from “Hiring an Intern?  Don’t Skip the Background Check”.


Interns & Background Checks

Hiring Interns can, and should be, a positive experience for both You and Your Intern.  You will gain first hand knowledge of what these young people have to offer.  Your Intern will gain professional experience and the opportunity to put what they have learned to good use.


Find more about the benefits of hiring interns and other temp employees for your Small Business here.



Paying Your Interns will only elevate the experience to both of You. And this just makes Good Business Sense!


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I can Help You Hire the best Interns and Full-Time Employees for Your Small Business.  Contact me with Questions or for a Free Consultation through my website and “Contact” Page.  You can also learn more about what I do and “why” on my “Services” and “About” page!

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