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Is Your Company’s Internship Program Legal?

With recent lawsuits over unpaid work by former interns from Harper’s BazaarCharlie Rose and the movie Black Swan, unpaid internships have come under fire as being exploitative and, many times, illegal. But with the U.S. Department of Labor’s “test for unpaid interns” leaving too much room for interpretation, it’s hard to know where the line is drawn.

According to the labor department, interns at a for-profit business who qualify as employees “typically must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.” That means if your intern is slaving over a project until 2 a.m. at the office, you better be writing those checks.

Remember, the bottom line is that an unpaid intern’s experience should be focused on his education more so than his benefit to the company, so make sure he or she is picking up a valuable experience.

For more ways to keep your program legit and rewarding, read 7 Things That Are Ruining Your Company’s Internship Program.

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