Every year as schools wind down and summer approaches, decision-makers within companies start thinking about the prospect of hiring interns to come in and do some of the less-desirable tasks around the office. While many larger businesses have established internship programs, smaller employers often don’t understand the rules surrounding the proper hiring and payment of interns. Here are three rules that organizations must follow when using unpaid interns.
Besides these restrictions, there are still many ways companies can benefit by having interns around. First, there is the injection of life that having someone new around the office can give the atmosphere. Interns are usually young and full of both ambition and innocence. Having someone around the office who is less jaded about being there can help boost morale. Second, there are some tasks that interns can perform without needing to be worried about breaking the rules. Having some of your busy work taken off your shoulders occasionally will likely still lighten your load. Third, your company can help build its reputation through the internship and you may find someone you want to hire after they’re done with the program—just be sure to make no promises.
If you find that an unpaid internship isn’t right for your company after learning the rules, consider hiring a paid intern. Most prospects looking for a paid internship understand they won’t make much more than minimum wage, and many will be willing to work part-time. Interns in this situation would then have all the same rules when it comes to payment, overtime, etc. as any other hourly employee. No, you do not have to pay your interns. Meanwhile, with the benefits from the work a paid intern can do, you might find that it is more than worth your investment.
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