New Rules on Unpaid Internships: Good for Grads?

Last Updated Apr 27, 2010 7:38 AM EDT

New Rules for Unpaid InternshipsThe media -- including the NY Times and Entry-Level Rebel -- have been shining a spotlight on unpaid internships. In the recession they're on the rise and many are starting to questions whether they are fair and legal. Now the Department of Labor has taken note and issued new guidelines laying out when it's permissible not to pay interns, according to the Huffington Post.
A legal internship must be "similar to training which would be given in an educational environment" and beneficial to the intern, including close work with existing employees. For unpaid internships, workers must clearly understand the position is unpaid and also be informed that a job offers are not guaranteed.
The Department of Labor factsheet lays out six requirements for legal unpaid internships, including that the internship can't replaced a paid employee and must benefit from the internship, while the company must "derive no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern."

The Chronicle of Higher Education notes some schools are fretting that the new guidance may mean fewer internships will be available for students. What do you think, are tighter rules necessary or will they be harmful to ambitious students in the long term?

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.

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