I speak from experience when I say that internships are great things.
They not only lead to building a great resume and making fantastic contacts, but in some cases -- like mine -- they can result in a full-time job. But as the economy has been like a capsized boat hitting a rocky shore, internships have come under fire for taking advantage of college kids or in some cases being considered a form of slavery.
Think what you'd like, but if you are considering having interns at your small business, you best heed the advice doled out in a recent post on TLNT, an HR-oriented blog.
It lays out six crucial criteria that must be met for an internship to be considered legal free labor under the Fair Labor Standards Act. If you don't follow all of these items, you can consider your butt sued -- and that ain't exactly free.
Take a look:
1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment
2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern
3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff
4. 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
5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship
6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
Read more over at TLNT.
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a columnist for EGM. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.