HRinfodesk poll result and commentary: Unpaid internships – labour standards, human rights questions
The issue of unpaid work has been a hot topic for quite a while now, and despite efforts by authorities to clarify the legal status, sometimes it seems that employers aren’t understanding it any better. To get a better idea of where our readers stand, we recently asked, Do you have unpaid internships at your organization? Slightly more than 80 percent of respondents said no, they don’t use unpaid interns, while nearly 20 percent said yes, they do. We didn’t ask whether employers are using legal unpaid internships, or whether they know if their internship arrangements are legal, but we’d like to offer our two cents and hopefully help our readers understand what’s legal and what’s not when it comes to unpaid internships.
It is a fact of life for some entering the labour market—the unpaid internship. For young workers, it is an opportunity to gain experience in a desired field. For employers, it is an opportunity to have recent graduates perform necessary work or apprenticeship at less cost all while assessing suitability for continued employment. Perhaps the modern internship is best explained by the following…
With university and college students now finished final exams and looking for summer work, it seems fitting that the latest controversy under the spotlight in the news is that of unpaid internships.
This is a follow-up post to my previous post on a business perspective on unpaid internships in the United States.This post deals with more of a Canadian business perspective, and when it comes to internships in Canada, the regulations are anything but clear. There are currently no laws in Canada regulating internships specifically, so provincial employment standards acts are the only form of governance. For the most part, internships in Canada are paid, however in some sectors (media, PR, journalism) internships go often unpaid. In the United States, some candidates are actually paying employers for unpaid internships. Luckily in Canada, things haven’t gone that far. However, Canadians are still fairly unaware of what unpaid internships are all about.
We’re pleased to present lawyer Andrew Langille of Youth and Work on what the law in Ontario says about unpaid internships. Here, Andrew focuses on the impact of unpaid internships on interns themselves, but organizations and businesses that use or hope to use unpaid interns must pay attention. It is crucial to know whether your intern is legally an intern (and therefore not subject to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act), or actually an employee. And the answer might surprise you.
You might have heard or read something in the past few months about internships—their status with respect to employment standards and whether it’s even legal to employ such workers without paying them. It’s no small issue. Many organizations rely on unpaid interns to do work for which they can’t afford to hire an employee proper…