Tag Archive | interns

Legal Issues from Unpaid Summer Interns

internI wrote last summer about issues involving volunteer interns; it’s that time of year again to consider your practices involving interns.  With more and more students and job seekers who need resume-building opportunities, there are many requests to job shadow or obtain unpaid work experience.  Employers must use care to avoid running afoul of wage and hour laws.

The DOL has listed several factors in reviewing whether the FLSA is implicated, including if the internship is similar to educational training, is really for the benefit of the intern, does not displace regular employees, and offers no immediate advantage to the employer.  Based on the factors, most interns should be paid for work they perform.

The complete DOL fact sheet is available here:  Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act.

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Guidance for Volunteer Interns

“Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street. . . .”

The time is also right for having summer interns in your place of business.  With a difficult job market, many students are seeking any type of position to build a resume while others are involved in education programs for credit that require practical on-the-job work.

If you plan on allowing volunteer interns to work over the summer at a for-profit business, you must meet certain criteria outlined by the Department of Labor to avoid a wage and hour violation under the FLSA.  Those factors are:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

Click here to review the complete DOL fact sheet:  Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act.