Should You Pay Your Interns and How Much?
The law is becoming more clear about what qualifies as an unpaid internship
Some Northeast Ohio employers pay interns. Others offer only credit. Some do both.
And still others are trying to figure out what to do.
Recent court rulings are making it clear that employers should not have unpaid interns do the work of regular employees.
In order for an experience to qualify as a legal unpaid internship, the work must be similar to training a student would obtain in an educational setting; must benefit the intern; must not displace regular employees; and must result in no immediate advantage for the employer and should occasionally even impede its regular operations.
Some Northeast Ohio employers talked about their policies and practices regarding compensation and interns.
INTERNS ARE COMPENSATED
Jennifer Dalrymple, the talent acquisition supervisor at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, explained that all interns are compensated.
“Depending on what level they come into, at the lowest level they’ll make $9 an hour.“– Dalrymple
Linda Miller, manager of training and development for the Centers for Families and Children, said her agency does not pay most of its interns – a fact that she laments.
“They’re not paid the first semester, so what we’re working toward now is a six month commitment” – Miller
NOT PAYING INTERNS IS NOT AN OPTION FOR YOUNGSTOWN BUSINESS INCUBATOR
Jim Cossler, the chief executive officer of the Youngstown Business Incubator, said he would not even consider bringing on a non-paid intern. He’s not sure how much they’re paid. But he knows they’re paid.
COMPENSATION IS CRITICAL
Kurt Kleidon, president of the Akron-based marketing company of Kleidon & Associates, said he can’t pay his interns much. But he said it’s critical to compensate them.
“We think it’s important to pay our interns. It’s not a grand sum, but it’s something that helps them.” – Kleidon
Advantages of Paid Internship:
- Mutual benefit for intern and organization
- Attract better talent
- Compensation = value to intern
- Valued intern = higher productivity
Disadvantages of Non-Paid Internship:
- Intern feels taken advantage of
- Unpaid internships devalues students
- Missing out on top talent
- Lack of enthusiasm in intern
- Potential negative evaluation and publicity from intern
Click here for FAQ’s about intern compensation