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Interns

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi all!

We are opening a shop and we definitely want to use some interns. I plan to call like three local schools tomorrow to find out some information.

However....for all you experienced people....I have questions. icon_smile.gif

First, are interns working for free, or minimum wage, or....?
How many hours do interns work?
Is there any sort of paperwork we would need to have them sign, some sort of privacy or thing where they promise not to copy or tell any of our recipes or special designs or etc?
Do we interview interns just like a regular employee?
Do interns have to eventually do everything in the shop, including do a whole cake on their own?
Can you fire an intern?

Anything else I need to know about interns? haha.

Thanks in advance!!!!!!!
post #2 of 18
I don't have any interns so take my opinion for what it's worth...

if you can get free labor I would go with that! thumbs_up.gif I'm sure there are programs out there where the students have to put in so many hours. If you can find one that does that financially you might be better off.

I think you should have them undergo an interview.

I would make up some sort of contract they have to sign that states their responsibilities, what they are and are not permitted to do (copy recipes for example, text/use cell phone while working, smoke, etc.). Make sure you have a list of consequences, including termination of their internship.

I can't imagine that you wouldn't be able to "fire" them if they don't do what they are supposed to. I mean isn't the whole point of an internship to get real world experience? And in the real world if you don't do the right thing, you get fired.

Hopefully someone who has experience with interns can help you icon_smile.gif
Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
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Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
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post #3 of 18
Sent you a pm Kitagirl.
post #4 of 18
If you're located near a culinary school, they typically have all of the documents and structure needed under their internship (some call it an externship) program. There are definitely forms, including liability information, verification of hours, performance evaluations, etc. Yes, you should definitely interview potential intern candidates, since they'll be working in your facility and you want to ensure they are reliable and trustworthy.

At the bakery I manage, we've had about 15 interns over the past several years. Some of them work out well and end up being hired, others just complete their hours (in my area, they're required to complete 240 hours of internship to complete their degree/certificate) and move on.

If you aren't working with a school that has an internship program, please proceed very carefully and consult an attorney or your local labor department for any restrictions/requirements. There could be laws forbidding you from "employing" people without pay for any length of time longer than a stage/tryout like 2-3 days. And it's definitely going to cost you more in the long run to resolve a labor dispute by a disgruntled intern that you saved in wages.

One last caution...students coming out of culinary school are all over the board in terms of their abilities. Many of them get four months of training across a wide spectrum of baking and may have only demonstrated a "skill" a single time for a grade. Most will still need a great deal of training and oversight and again, some will be better than others.

I was a student intern myself, so I'm speaking from experience. I'm grateful the bakery I'm managing now took a chance on me but the internship program as a whole is certainly not a huge financial gain for the company.
post #5 of 18
We had an intern from a local culinary school working with us, she was unpaid for a while (she needed a certain number of on-the-job hours to complete her certificate) then we hired her as an associate pastry chef for an hourly wage. Then we ended up selling her the business when we moved out of the area.

Use your regular employment contract and make sure they are covered by your workers comp policy even if they are unpaid. Interview them just like you would any other employee. Their work schedule and responsibilities should be dependent on their skill level and the demands of the job, again just like any other employee.

In many areas you will probably have many more applicants than available internship positions so you can afford to be selective, especially if you are near a culinary school.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone! Polar, got your PM, and thank you very much....

So if the interns are doing work for their degree, then its free work, right? We were thinking it would be good just to have an extra set of hands or two to bake and fill cakes, fold boxes, or greet customers so we have more time for the high skill things. But we are new at this.

Okay so legally we have to "hire" them, then? Interesting. We'll have to work on that then. We don't have workers' comp or anything like that at this time because its just myself and my business partner as co-owners of the business and we are so busy fighting with the contractors and property manager of our space (long story) that we haven't had a chance to sit down and figure out how to actually hire people yet. That will be our next big hurdle, I guess, to have all those things in place so that as soon as we are ready to hire, we can.

Wait, why would an unpaid intern receive workers' comp? Oh, is it because if they get hurt with us, they would receive it because they would be losing the opportunity to work elsewhere? Guess that would make sense.

Oh...and yes we will probably get a LOT of resumes....we have two fairly big culinary schools in Philly and then a smaller community college in our county that offers a small pastry degree as well. We've already gotten several people tell us they want to work with us and/or intern, and we haven't even put out an official "call" yet, so...we need to figure out what we're doing. haha.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

Wait, why would an unpaid intern receive workers' comp? Oh, is it because if they get hurt with us, they would receive it because they would be losing the opportunity to work elsewhere? Guess that would make sense.


Most states require workers comp coverage on all workers who are not owners of the company. WC basically guarantees an injured worker a certain amount of money and care from the state in exchange for giving up their right to sue their employer. IIRC we paid ~$600/year for our intern (in California).

If you did not have WC coverage, an injured worker could sue you for compensatory damages (which can be a huge amount of money by itself if the worker has no medical insurance) as well as "pain and suffering" and punitive damages in the case of negligence.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

Wait, why would an unpaid intern receive workers' comp? Oh, is it because if they get hurt with us, they would receive it because they would be losing the opportunity to work elsewhere? Guess that would make sense.


Most states require workers comp coverage on all workers who are not owners of the company. WC basically guarantees an injured worker a certain amount of money and care from the state in exchange for giving up their right to sue their employer. IIRC we paid ~$600/year for our intern (in California).

If you did not have WC coverage, an injured worker could sue you for compensatory damages (which can be a huge amount of money by itself if the worker has no medical insurance) as well as "pain and suffering" and punitive damages in the case of negligence.



I see. Thanks! Good info. (Even though its a shame that everybody sues everybody these days for every little thing...I mean...when I fall down the stairs at my home, I don't sue my husband..... LOL.)

So WC is on a employee-by-employee basis, right? We would just buy that when we hired someone, or is it something you sign up for at the beginning and then just add people as you go...????
post #9 of 18
This link should help, in PA you can buy WC from a private insurer or the state. You only need a policy after you hire your first employee (or intern).

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/workers%27_compensation_insurance/10441
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

This link should help, in PA you can buy WC from a private insurer or the state. You only need a policy after you hire your first employee (or intern).

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/workers%27_compensation_insurance/10441



Great...thank you! My business partner (cakeinfatuation) is so much better at this technical stuff than I am....I'm better at just doing the cakes and the daily organization of the cake projects...but I'm trying to help the best I can as she is in over her head, almost, with the contracting and trying to get in our space right now!
post #11 of 18
Once you open and come up in a google search, you will start getting inquiries, especially during the summer breaks. I have had quite a few calls and I've only been in business for about 1 1/2 years.

Another issue about Workers Comp. If your state does not mandate coverage, if an employee or intern does get hurt on the job, your business assets and earnings are at stake. Also, even if you incorporate, a personal injury will easily pierce the corporate structure to attach your personal assets. So think about this before electing not to cover if you have the choice.
post #12 of 18
My Culinary School called it an "externship" and I was hired like any other employee, except the business had to agree to fill out the paperwork and submit it to my school by "such-in-such-date".

I went through an interview process etc and I was paid an entry level wage. I worked like any other worker, baking and finishing pastries etc. I had my own recipe book and was required to keep up any changes made and take notes etc. After about a month I was working independently from the daily work list.

Remember that an intern wants to learn and get their hands dirty. So don't just give them box folding and cleaning duties. They will go back to their school and give YOU a "bad place to intern review" and you may have trouble getting any more workers from that school. We gave full reviews of our experiences to the school and future externs as well !!

Good Luck.
Always put your eggs in one basket.......why do you want to carry two?
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Always put your eggs in one basket.......why do you want to carry two?
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post #13 of 18
Kitagrl,

If you can form a relationship with a school, that is far and away your safest bet for an intern. The U.S. Dept. of Labor has been really cracking down these last few years on unpaid internships. Here is the "test" they use to determine if someone is actually eligible to be unpaid as an intern: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm

Interview them just as you would an employee and if it doesn't work out and you need to let them go, keep *very* good documentation as to why their performance was sub-par. Every state except Montana is an "at-will" state so you can fire someone for any reason, but if they claim that they were fired for protected reasons (disability, race, etc.), you will just want to make sure that you can prove otherwise.

Good luck!
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks!
post #15 of 18
What we do here is have schools that partner with businesses so that when you're ready for interns you just go into the school and they'll pull names -of students who would've indicated their interest in your field- from their database for you to interview. Paying is up to you and/or whatever labour laws you have, I really think that at least minimum wage would be highly appreciated by the eventual interns. Interns here sign contracts and evertything so they know their responsibilities and liabilities. Yes they can be fired, but again you'll have to follow the rules of your labour laws.
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