One of the main agendas of college students is to obtain an
internship relating to their major sometime during their college career. It is usually fact that the more experience a college student has in the working world, the more likely he or she is to be hired for a job after earning a diploma. An internship is one of the best ways for college students to gain
However, many companies do not pay student interns. A recent story in the New York Times by Steven Greenhouse brought up the issue of unpaid internships and discussed whether it is legal to not pay students for overworking them.
We at The Linfield Review think that if a student has an internship that is more than 25 hours a week, then the student should be paid for their work. When a student is working more than 25 hours a week, it becomes difficult for him or her to obtain a paying job to compensate for living expenses that internships can’t cover.
One of the key points in the NYT story was that if students are completing work that paid employees typically do, then the students should be paid for completing this work. The story said that state and federal regulators are concerned that companies are illegally using interns to perform free labor and therefore bypassing minimum wage laws.
It also mentioned that the number of unpaid internships have increased in recent years because it is currently difficult for students to find jobs.
We feel that college students are already bombarded with a number of bills that naturally come with college life. For example, tuition, rent, food and gas bills add up quickly. It would be helpful if students with internships were at least paid minimum wage to cover living expenses.
Kristi Mackay, career services program coordinator, said that she often doesn’t think it’s fair that students aren’t paid for internship work but that it’s important for students to get the experiences internships offer.
Mackay also mentioned that there are different standards among various careers when it comes to paid and unpaid internships. For example, television stations are notorious for unpaid internships, whereas Fred Meyer offers paid internships.
Mackay said that if students are doing the same work as an employee then they should be paid.
We agree that if a student is performing tasks that an employee, of the company should perform, they should be paid for such work. Otherwise, students are in danger of being exploited by companies.
All in all, unpaid internships can be beneficial to students, but students should be sure to ask about hours, duties and compensation.
-The Review Editorial Board