Should there be a ban on unpaid internships? -

Should there be a ban on unpaid internships?


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Should there be a ban on unpaid internships?

  1. Who are any of you to tell me I can not work for free (or some agreed upon price) to get training and experience? Free education is a better deal than losing 4 years in a class room, ending up with $50,000 debt and still no experience and needing to be trained. Who are you to ban me from doing this if I want to. (no one should make me though)

    • You can always do volunteer work….but it should be a choice, not something mandatory.

    • You can do what ever you want–if you want to work for free for the rest of your life–fight the power! However, the issue is “institutionalized” free labour. When corporations are making record level profits, but can’t find it in their pockets to pay university students (even minimum wage) looking for experience that’s more than greed It’s criminal. Corporations that do this are like unwanted squatters who take up all the resources of the land, but don’t pay the rent.

  2. There has to be a happy place in the middle, where those with real experience are training those new to a field of endeavour while placing some value on the eager extra help by giving interns a combination of food, lodging and/or a predictable per diem honourarium. Don’t you think?

  3. Some ppl learn stuff on an internship and some ppl we’ve heard are just used as cheap labour. If your learning no pay but if your just cheap labour well then u should get some coin for your efforts.

    • It’s “you’re” not your.
      Important “stuff” if you want a paying job some day.

  4. In my opinion it would depend on the length of the internship. If it’s one month to a 6week part of post secondary program then no pay. But if it is a true co-op, say 4-6months in between “schooling” then a hiring process should be required with full pay for work. Anything after post secondary I would be looking for work and if I was lucky enough to find a mentor it would not be for one afternoon or morning a week. That’s it.

  5. Correction of my first statement regarding mentorship. I meant to say “only one afternoon or morning a week with a mentor in a volunteer role”.

  6. Do you really think it is better to work in a fast food restaurant for pay (where the summer jobs are for unskilled students) than to work for free in an area related to your chosen career, where you will learn appropriate skills, experience what that type of work is really like, and most important of all, meet the people who one day will hire you if they are impressed by your performance?

    What percentage of interns end up working with the same people they interned with, or people they met through their internship work?

    How many interns decided to change career paths after learning that they didn’t really like that kind of work after all? That is a valuable lesson to learn before spending several more years pursuing further education down the wrong path.

    Ex-interns, let’s hear from you.

  7. Work for free if you want. Gain experience and skills. But there has to be some benefits to the worker. (i.e.) medical at least. Even if that isn’t free you deserve coverage.

  8. I think unpaid internships set up an unfair advantage for people who can’t afford to work for nothing, no matter how valuable the experience. It favours young people with parents who can support them during that time and / or have them living at home with them. It eliminates people without that family financial support and anyone who is raising a family. If it isn’t a law, companies will continue to use this system, since it is of obvious advantage to them.

  9. Twenty five years ago, as a highschool student, I offered to volunteer for a company I wanted to work for, and they put me to work a few hours a week answering phones and doing data entry. They didn’t EXPECT anything of me. They were grateful for me help, and showed it by giving me gifts. After about a year of observing how the business operated, I had figured out how to do some of the entry level jobs, so they gave me one, and it launched my career.

    I am now in university studying for a different career, and I am appalled at how times have changed. The standard unpaid internship is now 40-hours-a-week and comes with a list of qualifications that looks suspiciously like the qualifications for a paid JOB. And far from being grateful for the extra help, these businesses feel ENTITLED to free labour.

    There needs to be a balance. People with the genuine drive and initiative to seek out learning opportunities at businesses they want to work for should not face a legal impediment to getting rewarded for their efforts. But the law needs to clamp down on companies exploiting free labour to replace paid staff.

    My proposed solution: Nobody is allowed to make an unpaid intern do more than 5 hours a week of work. The intern can spend more hours in the business if they are shadowing other staff or receiving training that the INTERN has requested. But no more than 5 hours of work. That way, everyone can still have a paid job, and companies will have less incentive to replace paid jobs with interns because the cost of training 8 people for each full-time job will reduce the benefit substantially.

    • That strikes me as a really good idea. No clue how you could enforce it, but it’s a good idea. Heck, I’d be willing to let the limit go up to 10hrs per week, with the caveat that the student is allowed to job shadow anyone in the company for at least as much time as the work they’ve put in.

  10. Unpaid internships are actually the inverse of government positions.

    One works their ass off and gets paid nothing, but they learn something along the way, and the other does absolutely nothing of value to anyone but themselves, and gets paid incredibly well for the damage they cause in the process, while they never learn a damned thing except how to consistently screw things up even worse than they were before, for ever higher costs for everyone who was not involved in the decisions that were made on our behalf, without our consultation, notification or our fully informed consent.

  11. Unpaid internships are just a modern form of slavery and a way for the rich to help their own. Only if you are rich can you afford to work for free – you have student debt, living expenses etc. It is disgusting. Companies that do this are criminals!

  12. We need a mandatory student graduate employment service run by the government that is a PAID internship. Companies with over 25 employees should be mandated to take on a new graduate, paid of course, to get them the experience they need. It will be amazing how this will help the students but even more so will help the companies find great employees. This is what we need. Companies don’t need to pay the full value of the job but the students get needed experience. There can be a tax credit for employers – after all we give huge tax credits to the oil industry for exploration!!

  13. Internship is a continuation of the degree that will allow the graduate to earn a very large income when he learns his profession. Do they expect to be paid in advance?

    • “to earn a very large income”
      Do you seriously believe this? And when should this large income materialize? Two years after graduation or after 15 – 20years in your profession? I would say the latter. Once you’ve earned it.

  14. Theft from the employees by the employer is an epidemic in North America. This is just another scam to accomplish the art of screwing the swit out of the employees.

  15. It is exploitation, pure and simple. It occurs because there is a shortage of jobs. Jimmy may feel he has a right to work for free, but no one has a right to exploit unemployed people in the name of “experience”.

  16. My question is “Why do companies of all kinds feel they have no responsibility to train workers coming up?” They seem to feel that it is the responsibility of the state to provide them with fully qualified workers and, if this fails, they will take on the job but only if it does not cost them a cent. The business world does not seem to have an iota of social resposnibility anymore.

  17. There’s a reason why we have something called minimum wage, and if we don’t at least stick to our minimum, we only lower the standards for the next fresh new face that comes along.

  18. If an organization is getting some benefit from the work that a person does even in a training capacity then that organization is benefiting from their labour and as such should pay the internee.
    Too many businesses would take advantage of too many newer employees with promises or hints that they would be employed when in fact they may have no intention of hiring them at all. To keep this situation up front and honest the very least an employer can do is to give them minimum wage to protect the intern worker and keep the employer honest.

  19. I was an intern at an IT company, and now have been in the field for 13 years. I would not have been able to get that experience had it NOT been a paid internship. I encourage everyone that is going through school to try to get an internship as it is what launched my career. I could not have worked for free, and I have no idea where I would have wound up had I not had that internship. I was an intern for a year, then continued on for another year after that at the same company. The skills I learned and the contacts that I gained in that one year continue to help me today in my career.

  20. The word “intern” is merely a synonym for the word “volunteer”.

    “No one should work for free”?!

    Banning unpaid internships would effectively mean banning all unpaid volunteer work.

  21. I’m not totally again ‘unpaid’ internships, but they should be a designated short time – maybe two or three weeks, just enough for the ‘intern’ to get a feel for what the work enviroment is to decide if that is where they want to go in live/career. It seems to me, what internships are now is basically slave labour and business are using them as such – get the work for free and then toss the person away. Our society and our families can not afford this. Everyone talks about the expense to ‘businesses’, but forget that these young people have families that are supporting them and probably can not afford not to have money coming in from working age children/spouses. I know I’m in that situation!

  22. I think the issue really boils downt of fair compensation for work performed. While working toward obtaining my university degree, I worked as an engineering intern for a total of 20 months during which I was paid well above minimum wage. I can say that while the experience gained was invaluable, it would have been impossible for me to pursue those internships without pay as I lived away from home and family. While I’m aware that in some professions such as law, unpaid internships are the norm, and the merits and benefits of the expereince gained (paid or not) are great, there really is no good argument for not paying interns, especially in fields like law, medicine, or engineering, where compensation is typically moderate to high. I certainly appreciated the experience I gained, and it has most definitely helped my career. But I also appreciated being fairly compensated for the work I performed.

    • unpaid internships are not at all the norm in the legal profession – they occur but they are rare.

      I only comment because I’ve seen this idea floated more than once in these discussions.

  23. I don’t think that there should be a ban on unpaid internships. In some cases, there is probably the chance to gain valuable experience. But I think that it can be abused and that should be examined. How do you quantify the value of the internship? Did you gain something from it that you might not have otherwise?

  24. Everybody do everything for free! For free! Slavery is where it’s at! Have no means of support! Learn a craft and walk out in debt and jobless! Have lots of babies, too! Lots and lots of babies! Then eat them because one will be forced to because of agreeing not to be paid for one’s labors.

  25. i agree that this should be banned. as a graduate myself, it is so disappointing and frightening to see that after all this school I still won’t be paid when i start working. some of these unpaid internships are ridiculously long as well- six months of unpaid internship is another six months that the intern will have to depend on their parents.
    this is just unlawful. even slaves in the 1800’s got free board and food! you would think that our society is pass this by now.