Did you get started in your career as an unpaid intern? According to labor officials, that may actually be free labor and therefore illegal:
“If you’re a for-profit employer or you want to pursue an internship with a for-profit employer, there aren’t going to be many circumstances where you can have an internship and not be paid and still be in compliance with the law,” said Nancy J. Leppink, the acting director of the department’s wage and hour division.
Ms. Leppink said many employers failed to pay even though their internships did not comply with the six federal legal criteria 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.
Steve Greenhouse of the New York Times has more: Link (Photo credit: Matthew Cavanaugh/NY Times)
What do you think? Is it reasonable to expect businesses to pay for interns who have no experience? If no business will hire you because you have no experience - and you can't get any experience because no one will hire you, then isn't an unpaid internship a good way to solve the problem? (Disclosure: I worked as an unpaid lab intern for 2 years in college. It was actually quite competitive to get that position.)