First let me start by saying that I believe every intern should receive some sort of financial compensation whether it is a weekly transportation stipend or a monthly bonus – even interns working in nonprofit organizations.
There are regulations for what constitutes an unpaid internship versus employment in private or for profit sector. The criteria that seems to confuse and scare managers the most is “The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded”.
To explain it further, “The more the internship provides the individual with skills that can be used in multiple employment settings, as opposed to skills particular to one employer’s operation, the more likely the intern would be viewed as receiving training. Under these circumstances the intern does not perform the routine work of the business on a regular and recurring basis, and the business is not dependent upon the work of the intern.”
I’m often asked what takes an unpaid intern can perform. This is not something that I can answer fully in one blog. Each business has different operations and needs. I can give a general example of how this can apply to your business, however.
An unpaid intern cannot schedule a meeting with a potential client and get a contract signed over lunch. An unpaid intern can help you and your employees plan an open house, set up for the open house, and mail out invitations to the open house to potential clients – except if you brought them in specifically to work on your open house project. As the intern performs these tasks you will be teaching them about marketing, advertising, event planning and client acquisition.
Contact me by email to get your internship program questions answered.
Nicki Sanders, The Packaged For Success Coach, is an Adjunct Professor with a passion for business and career development. She has an extensive background in developing and managing interns and successful internship programs. She is a skilled manager, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has packaged her Master of Social Work degree and 20 years of work experience into Packaged For Success, a full service training and professional development company.
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