Did Condé Nast Implement A New, Fairer Internship Policy?

Last month brought news of a former Harper’s Bazaar intern suing Hearst for unpaid hours, and now it sounds like Condé Nast has implemented new internship policies.

Fashionista spoke to two sources at Condé who told them its internship program was overhauled this semester. Here’s a run-down of the changes, as per the site:

• 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

Getting stipends and mentors and not running personal errands is great. Only being allowed to intern at the company for one semester a year is not, especially since there are two dozen magazines and even more websites under the Condé umbrella. The security badge modification also seems impractical, though we’re all for interns not working crazy late hours. (It should also be noted that Condé has not confirmed any of these changes, as per company comment policy.)

Did this all go down because of the mess at Hearst? It’s unclear, though these changes went into effect in January, before news of the Hearst lawsuit broke. However, Fashionista’s source told them “Condé was about to get in serious trouble with the Labor Department because the intern program really resembled free workers”. Does this mean they were about to get threatened with a similar lawsuit? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, it’s nice to see change a-comin’.


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