Amid Lawsuits, Fewer unpaid internships to be offered

Many employers are doing away with unpaid internships or converting them to paid programs amid lawsuits that claim interns should have been compensated for their work, labor lawyers say.

During and after the recession, unpaid internships spread as employers faced tight budgets, says Ross Perlin, author of 2011’s Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy, in this morning’s issue of USA Today. There are about 1.5 million internships in the U.S. each year, nearly half unpaid.

Because laid-off workers were eager to fill gaps on their résumés, the set-ups encourage employers to replace low-level employees with unpaid students, says Ross Eisenbrey of the Economic Policy Institute.