intern working on laptop

Payroll is one of the biggest expenses for most organizations.

As a small business owner, hiring more workers can take a toll on your bottom line. As such, it’s not surprising to learn that as much as 43 percent of for-profit organizations don’t pay interns. Most companies have their reasons, such as the provision of hands-on training opportunities in exchange for free labor.

Where does your company stand on this?

If your policy is not to pay interns, it’s high time you took a second look at it.

In this article, we’re fleshing out reasons why intern payment is a good thing for your organization.

1. It’s a Legal Requirement

Under federal law, it’s a requirement to pay interns. However, there are conditions under which an organization can legally offer unpaid internship opportunities. An example of this is when the internship does not benefit the employer in any way.

So if you’re planning to hire an unpaid intern, be sure to study the law and ensure you won’t be in violation. If your organization violates the law, nothing stops the intern from suing for compensation. A government agency like the National Labor Relations Board can also fine your company for unfair labor practices.

2. Attract Top Talent

Even when the law doesn’t compel you to pay interns, it’s still a good practice to pay them at least the minimum wage.


Organizations that have a reputation for paying interns usually attract the best talent. You see, as much as interns want to learn, they also have financial needs. Not many internship seekers will pass up an opportunity from a company that pays in favor of one that doesn’t pay.

This means you’ll attract the best interns in the market, some of whom will take up the positions full-time.

3. Your Competitors Are Already Paying Interns

If you’re wondering why your competitors seem to be a couple of steps ahead of you, it’s probably because they’re paying interns!

Well, not directly, but it’s practices like offering paid internships that give a company an edge. This helps build an organization’s reputation, and with a strong reputation, it’s easier to improve employee productivity and even attract new clients.

As such, don’t treat intern payment like an unnecessary expense. It’s the one thing that could set your company apart.

What’s more, paying interns doesn’t have to add any additional administrative costs to your budget. You can, for instance, use a free online check stub maker to record their wages.

4. The Cost of Higher Education Is Spiraling out of Control

Students from the class of 2018 graduated with two things: a degree and a debt balance of $29,800.

Clearly, student debt is a huge problem and as an employer, you have the power to make a positive contribution. By paying interns, you’ll empower them financially, so they can use some of the money to start paying off their loans before they graduate.

Intern Payment Is the Right Thing to Do

Having an intern payment policy isn’t just about following the law. It’s the right thing to do.

Interns are just like any of your employees – they have expenses to meet. Plus, the benefits of paying your interns outweigh the costs by far.

Need more business tips and insights? Keep reading our blog!