Sunday, June 05, 2011

6,000 BBC interns have no rights

The BBC pays its interns less than the median income of expat workers in the Gulf. It pays them zero, and does not reimburse them for work related expenses.

Bryan Caplan asks,
1. If the minimum wage is a good idea, shouldn't unpaid internships be illegal as well? If not, why not?

2. Name the main arguments in favor of the legality of unpaid internships. Aren't all of them equally good arguments for allowing people to work for wages greater than zero and less than the minimum wage?
Meanwhile (NYT),
The Labor Department says it is cracking down on firms that fail to pay interns properly and expanding efforts to educate companies, colleges and students on the law regarding internships. “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,” said Nancy J. Leppink, the acting director of the department’s wage and hour division. Ms. Leppink said many employers failed to pay even though their internships did not comply with the six federal legal criteria that must be satisfied for internships to be unpaid. Among those criteria are that the internship should be similar to the training given in a vocational school or academic institution, that the intern does not displace regular paid workers and that the employer “derives no immediate advantage” from the intern’s activities — in other words, it’s largely a benevolent contribution to the intern.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Duffy said...

Indeed people here are asking if minimum wage laws are so important, how are unpaid internships legal?

10:24 PM  

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