Legal or Not? There’re New Standards of Unpaid Internships


The general legislation on employment requires that an employee is paid for work that they do for an organization. While internships are not employment a certain kind of remuneration is required for interns.

In the recent past regulation has been provided allowing organizations to have unpaid interns. There are different variations of this unpaid internship legislation. The government is cracking down on firms that are not paying for internships. While in the US the government recently provided legislation allowing companies to take in unpaid interns.


For many decades organizations have carried out internships for graduates leaving universities to provide them with skills in a work environment. Organizations have not been particularly keen on paying for work that interns do. This has resulted in unpaid internships being a common practice.

While it was not very clear in the past what unpaid internships entail or what legislation surrounding such practices are, there has been the public outcry to face out unpaid internships. Organizations are becoming more keen on what legislation is required for internships.

Long-Term Employment

Recently there has been a Twitter debate on whether or not unpaid internships are legal. The opinions were divided between those who supported and those who did not support unpaid internships. Those who supported were of the opinion that graduates should not be too concerned about the pay but should instead focus on gaining as many skills as they could and work more on impressing the employers if they wanted to secure long-term employment in those companies. Internships provide an opportunity for many graduates to network while preparing to gain meaningful employment.


Those who did not support unpaid internships were of the opinion that interns should not work in conditions such as those because they were exploitative and were designed to provide companies with free labor. It is clear that those who did not support were in many cases from the younger generation and minority groups.

Some whom opined that people from minority groups are in many cases not able to cater for their basic need while doing unpaid internships. People from the LGBTQI or black communities are inherently not from wealthy families or do not have a large social community network to provide them the support they may need to pay their rent or pay other bills while on internships. 

Internship Structure

While it is common for many organizations not to pay interns for their internships, the training standards were also sighted as another problem. Many organizations do not have structures that are vital for a teaching environment that is required by the US Department of Labor. A lot of former interns complain not having learned anything meaningful during their internships. Interns also confess to working more hours than the organizations’ employees. This would be chalked down to actual value addition to organizations, which would make some interns by law employees as well.

In the UK where the legislation is in support of paid internships, all indications indicate that the public is in support of scenario where interns are at best paid the minimum wage of one thousand pounds a month also seek to close in on the loopholes which allowed companies to take up to one year of unpaid interns.


In conclusion, the debate on whether or not new graduates should be paid on internships is not going to end any time soon. Interns deserve to be compensated for the work they provide to organizations. Many organizations pride themselves in the value and trust they have in their employees. Interns should not be given different treatment either. In any case, interns being potential future employees to the companies should be furnished with all the help they may need.