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Will unpaid internships be your undoing?

SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in Smartbrief on Workforce — tracks feedback from leading managers and HR practitioners. We run the poll question each Wednesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Does your company offer unpaid internships?

  • No, and we never have, 60%
  • Yes, 29%
  • No, but we used to, 11%

We can talk about how it hurts students or businesses to eliminate unpaid internships, but that isn’t the regulatory environment we’re in right now. There is some increased scrutiny coming down from both the federal government and state labor departments about the practice of unpaid internships. This is fair warning to those that are currently practicing it (and those who have practiced it recently but discontinued). If your unpaid internship doesn’t meet all of the six federal criteria (PDF), you could be facing some serious fines.

Lance Haun is community director for ERE.net, the main guy over at Rehaul.com and a member of the SmartBrief on Workforce Advisory Board.