Conde Nast has issued a set of guidelines that will reform its internship program.
The Atlantic reported the news with air quotes around “reform.”
Why? “Because the changes don’t do much to fix the broken system. In fact, the changes just prove how unfortunate the whole situation is.”
Here are the guidelines:
Interns aren’t allowed to stay at the company for more than one semester per calendar year unless granted special clearance by Human Resources.
• Interns are required to do an orientation with HR where they are told to contact them if they are working unreasonably long hours or are mistreated.
• Interns can only work until 7pm and their security badges will actually be modified so that they won’t work after 7pm–meaning they won’t be able to get back into the building after 7 (making any late-afternoon errands or pickups particularly stressful)
• Interns are given stipends (around $550 for the semester)
• Interns have to receive college credit to be eligible for an internship.
• Interns will have to have official mentors
• Interns are only allowed to work on tasks related to the job at hand and no personal errands
“These things should be implicit, not part of some kind of revolutionary reform,” the Atlantic says.
Well, yes. Too little too late, and all. But these rules really should curtail the worst intern abuses (like a manager making the intern pick up her dry cleaning). And while $550 doesn’t go far, is it really an empty gesture?