Hiring unpaid interns

I’m curious what people’s thoughts are on this. I wasn’t even aware this was legal in canada.

I normally wouldn’t go that route, but I’m being offered interns through a formal program, and I’ve got a distinct project they could work on.

The type of people you will get as unpaid interns are the type of people who can afford to be unpaid interns.

I am not sure what type of work you are having them do, so I don’t know what the overall hiring pool normally looks.

I can also see the benefit of giving the experience to someone, if your only option is unpaid intern vs. no intern.

What does that mean? Wealthy?

It’s really a matter of convenience. I’ll get the project done faster than waiting for my regular developer to finish all the other stuff they have to do first.

Yeah, wealthy, well off.

It came up recently in discussions regarding unpaid internships at lawfirms and other white collar jobs effective being gatekeeping to only allow in people coming from money into the applicable industries.

I have never run a business and balanced these type of decisions, so, I am likely a horrible person to opine on this.

But yeah, I would say if yiu feel like you can actually teach the person something and expose them to new environment that would be good. But if there is zero chance of them being hired full-time, I would make that clear to the program director.

I thought unpaid interns are usually like high school students

guess I’m wrong.

In this case, it’s some part of the coop program at the university
Of Waterloo.

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Hmmm…coop stuff from Waterloo is definitely outside of my understanding.
Will they get University credit?
Seems like a better deal for them afterall.

“The Industry” here (aka “Hollywood”) likes to hire unpaid interns.

In my country it is a way to let the wealthy “old boys” network give experience to their children so that they are more likely to get the entry level job when applying.

Wow. This was an education on interns. Thankfully I think the wealth bias is removed here. Students apply for the overall program, and I don’t get to pick who they send. They’re evaluated for their skills by the program by the coordinator. they send junior students and I get evaluated on whether my project helps the student.

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My ex was the first in his family to go to college, so not exactly a privileged kid with connected parents. But he chose unpaid internships that he thought gave him better experience over internships that in some cases paid quite well. He ended up doing pretty well for himself, last I heard. :woman_shrugging:

If you’re choosing to have the internship unpaid as a means of maintaining the “old boys network” then… you suck.

If it’s how the school does it and it helps you get a project done while giving the intern valuable experience then go for it.

And I don’t know about in Canada, but in the US interns are exempt from labor laws regarding compensation if they are receiving school credit and the primary purpose is education and the work / value they provide to the company is secondary.

It can be more onerous on the employer to demonstrate compliance than the cost of simply paying the interns. My employers always opted to pay interns even where it wasn’t required.

The version of internship that I describe is not school linked but in practical terms, an unpaid first job for people just out of education.

An internship that is part of an educational course sounds much better than what is effectively a barrier set up against poor people.

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What you describe was exactly what i thought of at first.

People deserve to be compensated for their work. If the internship is a requirement of their education program or if the resume value of interning at company XYZ is high, then it might be okay to not pay an intern. Otherwise, and this is almost all internships, you are taking unfair advantage of labor. Paying people in experience is indentured servitude. Unless you are playing D&D of course.

I would think only those who could afford not to be paid would sign up for the program. Thus, a self-selected wealthy pool.

Some info on internships in America:

I feel like i have heard from other Canadians that doing a coop term at waterloo was just part of curriculum.
If that is the case, I am not certain anyone “ops into” the program.

Do we have any waterlooins left around here?

Hello? Me? :slight_smile:
SL - Uwaterloo BMath, minor in actsci. Class of 2020.

I agree, which is why I started the thread.

I’m doing it because it’s formally available, and I need a project done before my co-op student goes back to school. I could wait and let my developer do this stuff but the coop will be gone before the dev gets to this project. And I take some consolation that a) they are actually being compensated just poorly. It’s closer to minimum wage (curiously, I pay the school part of it, and the school actually tops up what they get paid, so it’s not truely unpaid) and b) I will ensure they get resume-friendly experience. I went through this with the program coordinator and they indicated that the experience I was providing was pretty much the best available in their program. They are junior, so I’m going to be paying my dev. to oversee them, and I’m going to have to spend time managing them so it’s not entirely free from my perspective either.

That sounds fine and ethical.

If you feel like their compensation is still on the low side, take them out to lunch several times. Give them a nice gift card to someplace college kids spend money when they leave as a goodbye gift. Load them up with useful swag. (Phone charger, tumbler, polo shirt they can wear to work, etc.)