I want to offer internships/ employ interns this summer, help me cover my legal, tax, etc bases...
April 16, 2010 12:07 PM   Subscribe

How to have interns/offer internships - legal, tax, employment issues, etc. ?

I own two small music businesses and am starting a label and a blog this summer. A few high schoolers (3) are extremely interested in being my interns. They are, except for one, under 18. I definitely have interesting tasks for them to do, they're great kids... mature, responsible, musicians looking to get a foot in the business side of things (shades of myself at that age... um 7 years ago). I'm a former intern myself, so I'm aware of how good internships are run (and how bad ones are run), and I really do want to help these kids get an idea of what goes on in the business part of my day, as opposed to the private lesson teacher or gigging musician part (they think it's glamorous... it is, of course, not).

At this point, I know I will need their parents to sign a permission slip and have the kids sign a confidentiality agreement. They have expressed some interest in doing the internship for credit, which I obviously have no objection to, other than I have no idea how to get the ball rolling on that... Is there anything I should keep in mind legally, tax-wise, etc? I'm in Virginia and my companies are all LLCs, and subsidiaries of an incorporated entity if that makes any difference.

I seem to be able to find tons of info on how to BE an intern, not how to employ one.

I am interested in keeping the program going in the fall with new interns if I can find qualified kids, since the business is still very small (me, but the budget is expanding enough that I'll be bringing in an assistant in the fall - right now though I'm not getting paid, just reinvesting in the business and creating some savings as it grows) and the help is appreciated. I guess a perk of being in the "music business" is that there's no shortage of people who think your job is glamorous and want to intern with you. I just want to make sure I'm doing everything on the up and up.
posted by vilolagrl to Work & Money (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
To begin with, make sure that you're complying with federal labor law.
posted by jennyb at 12:27 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

If they are doing it for credit, you'll need to coordinate with their school, make a contact there with a counselor.

And, make sure, in your heart, you're not using them for tasks that should be done by a paid employee. The trend now to use interns instead of hiring people is a bit disturbing. If they are doing it for credit, that's great, and there is a return for them...without that piece it never feels right to me!
posted by HuronBob at 12:32 PM on April 16, 2010

If they are doing it for credit, see if they have liability insurance through their school.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:20 PM on April 16, 2010

A legal internship will be more like private lessons from where you sit. The fact that there is a legal barrier against interns having an immediate impact on your business may affect your decision to go this route; interns are not just a form of free labor.
posted by rhizome at 1:43 PM on April 16, 2010

Talk to the business attorney that you certainly must have retained as a part of your planning to run two businesses.
posted by toomuchpete at 2:28 PM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

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