Have Unpaid Interns in Your Restaurant? | CookingDistrict.com

Have Unpaid Interns in Your Restaurant?

Do you have unpaid interns in your restaurant? The New York Times just published an article outlining how difficult it is to legally utilize unpaid interns; the takeaway of the article is “If you’re a for-profit employer or you want to pursue an internship with a for-profit employer, there aren’t going to be many circumstances where you can have an internship and not be paid and still be in compliance with the law,” says Nancy J. Leppink, the acting director of the Labor Department’s wage and hour division.
The restaurant industry is often stereotyped for turning a blind eye to many labor laws (and often rightly so), but it's worth the time to be familiar with the six federal criteria for unpaid internships. Check that link for full details, but some of the important rules require that the intern does not displace regular paid workers and that the employer “derives no immediate advantage” from the intern’s work. In other words, you're doing the intern a huge favor without getting anything in return other than a positive feeling.
Source: NYT via Neatorama


michaelm1448 • 04/07/2010
I definitely have a big problem with unpaid internships. Especially when I am doing a job in place of a paid worker who called off or didn't show up. I have also continued to work after the paid employee was cut. In my position (i.e. the student), I try to keep positive throughout my time served in this restaurant, but I find myself fighting off a gnawing frustration and a constant desire to say something to somebody about feeling like my position is being taken advantage of. I'm just glad to hear somebody out there feels that there is some wrong with this idea of not compensating the interns.
ttrengove001 • 04/13/2010
I was lucky enough to get a paid internship, but at minimum wage, while in my internship new hire-es were hired at 12-15 dollars an hour. Are companies taking advantage of us? there should be guide lines in place for future students to complete their education and not be taken advantage of just because they are interns.
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