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Taking Care of Business
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Old December 20th, 2003, 09:09 AM   #1
Wrangler
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Vallejo, California
Posts: 4,049
Interns & other free labor

I have always held the opinion that using an Intern on a shoot (I have a videography business) is a mistake for two reasons:

1. They have no insurance coverage
2. I am not protected by my liability insurance if they screw up.

I have, in the past, always paid at least minimum wage through a temporary employment agency. So they cost me $10.50 per hour after insurance and other fees plus their salaries are paid.

Now moving to the end of 2003 and the new California Workmens Compensation expenses start to bite.

The minimum wage through the agency is now more like $13.00 per hour and every other wage level has gone up too.

I pay somewhat skilled help $15.00 per hour which now works out to $22.50 instead of $18.50.

I cannot treat them like contractors because they work at my schedule, where I tell them to work, and they use my equipment.

Are Interns a safe bet or does one bet their company every time they participate in a project?
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Old December 20th, 2003, 10:51 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 6,609
Mike,
I think this is an issue that you may want to get real legal advice on from both a labor attorney and your insurance agent to tell you whether or not they are covered and if the work they do is covered under your E&O policy.

With certain labor laws being different in each state, I think the safest route to go right now is consult with the lawyers, insurance agent and perhaps the state department of labor to get a read on what could affect you and to what degree it could affect your business.
Good Luck,
Don
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Old December 20th, 2003, 05:50 PM   #3
Hawaiian Shirt Mogul
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: northern cailfornia
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the last i knew you could get workmans comp on interns, persons working for free thru private insurance company's ( that offered workmans comp) not sure on WC coverage offered from state... all should be aware that it will cover medical expenses only - if you get paid nothing then ones weekly benifit ( $) is nothing. IMO you want to keep a employer-employee relationship with all persons that work for you ..
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Old December 20th, 2003, 11:08 PM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Canada
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I don't own a videography business but we do use interns every now and then.

Interns come in different grades like lens and filters do. It is important to screen and know what you're getting, whatever that might be.

We also never give an intern mission critical work/responsibilities. Whenever we do assign an intern certain responsibilties, there is usually a buffer installed, in case of any inexperienced screw ups. Interns are there to learn so we do expect them not to work as good/fast as the other fully-paid employees. But once a while you do get a bonus.

Cheers.
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Old December 21st, 2003, 02:47 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Vallejo, California
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I only work with people who have gone through the Cinema program at the local college. People of whom I have first-hand knowledge of their capabilities.

Even then I find I have to give camera classes and sound classes to them so they work as I want.

Working with the College has real advantages for finding people with training but not at a pro level that demands $500 per day paychecks.
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