Well, it’s summer, which means it’s time for beach trips, outdoor concerts, BBQ’s – and internships. My 20-year old company Information Experts has hired interns for more than 10 years to support all types of marketing and communications initiatives, and Successful Culture has two great interns this summer.
Last Sunday, during my monthly segment as a regional small business expert on ABC’s Washington Business Report, I discussed the value of internships to a business as well as some landmines to avoid. My guest was Jennifer Brown, CEO of Peopletactics.
Jen has been Information Experts’ outsourced HR Director for more than 10 years. There is no one I trust more than Jen for our HR needs. Her work has not only enabled us to build a strategic, compliant, and employee-focused HR infrastructure; it has also kept us shielded from a lot of HR problems.
Jen provided great insight on how to create an intern program that is a win-win for both your organization and the intern. Here are some of the highlights.
Making Internships Work
“If a company thinks of interns as free labor, it might get itself in trouble. About four years ago, the Department of Labor issued guidance on unpaid internships, and this guidance includes six criteria – all of which must be met to substantiate an unpaid internship. If an employer derives any immediate benefit from the intern’s work or uses interns to displace regular employees, they are obliged by law to pay the interns.”
There have been a number of lawsuits brought by interns in recent years and more often than not the courts are finding for the interns.
“It’s very easy for an intern to file a complaint with their State wage and hour office or the Department of Labor or to find an attorney who will take on such a case,” Brown says.
“To me, it’s just not worth the risk…all you have to do is pay your interns minimum wage and any applicable overtime pay — this will ultimately be much less expensive than the time, money, and stress spent in dealing with a lawsuit, back pay, fines and penalties,” she told Washington Business Report.
This is a glimpse of some of the information Jen provided on our segment. For more information on how to set up your internship, please click here for the video.
Do you have interns on board for the summer? You can meet our entire team including our interns here.
Let us know how they are working out for you.
Interns can also be a great feeder system for full-time employees, and are a wonderful opportunity to mentor our next generation of leaders.
P.S. You can hear me discuss Successful Culture on Entrepreneur on Fire here.