College students attend an internship orientation program. (Flickr/USDAgov)
The Department of Labor recently igniteddebate when it reminded employers of those pesky minimum-wage laws. The move suggested the government is no longer keen on tolerating companies that don't pay their interns and compensate them instead with college credit. It turns out that there's a pretty narrow legal window in which interns don't have to be paid, and a fair number of employers who now offer unpaid gigs probably can't shimmy through it.
Tackling unpaid internships at Inside Higher Ed, Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aounfears the Department of Labor's recent clampdown on illegally unpaid internships could discourage employers from bringing students on board because of cost. Instead of depending on the government, he argues, colleges should step in and police unpaid internships themselves to ensure they provide a genuine educational experience -- one that is worth college credit:
The Times is keeping debate over unpaid internships percolating with a piece that could have been ghostwritten by the folks at Stuff White People Like. The article looks at how the Obama administration’s shift toward stricter enforcement of minimum-wage laws is hurting honest, hard-working rich kids who can’t find a place to perform indentured servitude anymore. Most irritating, it features a quote from the CEO of an entrepreneurial group that refutes any qualms about unpaid internships with a neat libertarian meme: “I was an unpaid intern and I had no problem with it.”