Snopes is one of my favorite websites. The Urban Legend debunking site usually does a great job — But on this article they reported correctly that Bernie Sanders is the only one paying interns, but then blew it. Snopes says: “First, the candidates offering unpaid internships are not breaking any laws. In most cases, it is perfectly legal to hire interns for non-paying positions as long as those interns receive some tangible benefit (such as school credit or valuable work experience) in return.” Big Snope – Nope. Per the department of labor, you pay everyone unless these six criteria are met:
- The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
- The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
- The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
- The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
I bet interns on a presidential campaign work and work hard. I bet that work benefits the employer, in this case the campaign.
I’m not saying people can’t volunteer for campaigns — that’s the essence of democracy. But when we are talking about people that are basically working for the campaign as a full time job, they probably need to be paid.