Many students accept unpaid jobs with the belief that the work experience is the ultimate payoff. However, with the current economic recession, students cannot afford to work for free, and believe it or not, free student labor is against the law.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, student interns must be paid at least the minimum wage or supplied with academic credits from their respective schools. The current minimum wage in New York State and Fair Labor Standards Act is $7.25 per hour.
According to an article on forbes.com, “Unpaid internships can leave employers open to increased liability by financially binding them to students’ universities if liabilities arise, such as workers compensation obligations. At present, one in five internships in the U.S. has an illegal compensation structure.”