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Unpaid Internship Regulations: U.S. Department Of Labor Releases New Criteria

Huffington Post   First Posted: 06/22/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 05:15 PM ET

Serial Solutions Austin

Following a rash of negative publicity relating to unpaid internships -- including young workers who were forced to sanitize door handles and sweep bathrooms for no pay -- the U.S. Department of Labor has released a new set of standards for interns.

The fact sheet provides a list of six criteria for interns to determine whether or not their post is fair. 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.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, some schools fear that the restrictions might mean fewer internship opportunities for students.

[Messiah College director of internships Michael] True worried that "employers would just pull in the carpet and say, 'I'm sorry, we're not going to offer those,'" he said. "'This is just too big a risk for us.'"

But most agree that a closer relationship between schools and the Department of Labor will be beneficial for future interns.

When colleges and employers work together, internships can be valuable educational experiences, [Janet Nepkie, a professor of music and music industry at the State University of New York at Oneonta] said. "I can offer assurance to companies that we will be able to show compliance," she said. "We have a partnership here."

What do you think? Are you in favor or against these new stipulations? Also, Do you have an internship lined up for this summer? Is it paid?

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