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Opinion: Unpaid Internship and Why It Is Wrong



Internships have long been a way for young college students to break into a particular field or for students to take their careers in a new direction. The idea of doing internships is very beneficial for students because it can give them experience within an industry that you are interested in. It also helps you build industry contacts which can help boost your career, and also through an internship, you will be able to learn a lot and be mentored by those who have a lot of experience and skills.


But the dramatic increase in unpaid internships in recent decades has created a debate about their impact on the labor force, the overall economy, and the interns themselves. Employers are desperate for cheap work, and "free" is pretty reasonable. Workers are desperate for, well, anything. At the same time, students and fresh grads are willing to negotiate their wages down to zero. But the ethics aren't so clear-cut. If unpaid internships are the key to better jobs and bigger salaries, should we be concerned about the millions of lower-class students who can't afford to work for free?


While the job market value internships quite highly, research also shows that 43% of internships at for-profit companies are unpaid. As a result, only young people from the most privileged backgrounds end up being eligible for such roles. This situation deepens the generational wealth gap and actively obstructs their path to equal opportunity for marginalized communities.


Unpaid internships are considered exploitative. Because You shouldn't have to work for free, this way, your employer is getting something for nothing while you do all the hard work. They're taking advantage of your potential student/graduate status.


You may not care about being paid a salary, just as long as you have a rewarding experience. Your employer knows this. But then you have to think about those who came from less privileged backgrounds; some of them may afford to undergo an unpaid internship. However, they need expenses for accommodation like transport and meals.


Second, it's considered unethical. We live in a world where a fundamental ethical principle that drives economic intercourse in our world today is the concept of fair exchange. When individuals provide labor with their time and effort (mental or physical), the recipient should pay them fairly in exchange for the work they've done. It doesn't matter what we call this labor, a job, a gig, or an internship. If a person performs work, they should get paid. Neither the potential to learn on the job (without academic credit) nor the fact that future opportunities may arise from providing the labor is a substitute for fair wages now.


Imagine if your employer told you, "We are going to skip this week's paycheck because you learned new skills at work this week. We feel certain this will help your career tremendously in a few years." Would you find this acceptable? Would this help you put food on your table? If it's not OK to behave this way with a full-time employee or a gig worker, why is it fair to treat an intern this way?


All good jobs, regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time, temporary or open-ended, offer two things. They provide a wage, and they provide opportunities for learning and growth. However, a salary is not a substitute for learning and growth opportunities.



Then, after all, some laws and regulations protect interns' rights and ensure there is no exploitation toward interns. Although unpaid internships can take advantage of your thirst for new experiences, they might still be worth doing. In Indonesia, several laws regulate internships.


First, there is UU No. 13 of 2003 concerning Manpower, which says companies have to provide pocket money and transportation for interns. Second, according to Article 22 Paragraph (2) of the Manpower Law, interns have the right to receive pocket money and transportation money, obtain social security for workers and obtain a certificate if they graduate at the end of the program. Social security in question is insurance for work accidents and death, as regulated in Law Number 24 of 2011 concerning the Social Security Administering Body. If the company you work for does not provide social security, they can get administrative sanctions from the government.


For some people, maybe the law doesn't matter. However, if they continue to do unpaid internships, this unethical culture will continue to exist. Everyone should be paid and respected for the work they do.


Now that you know you're right about an internship, be more careful when finding an internship. Because it's not only impacting you but also others who are or will do internships.


Now that you're aware of the numerous physical and emotional benefits that exercise may provide, put your excuses aside, get up, and move toward a prosperous future.


If you would like to know more insight that could make your career life even better, you could read more articles on our blog and do a consultation with us! Also, follow us at Instagram @baikgp and @ayureadypodcast for more information and extra insights!


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