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Is your unpaid internship legally supposed to be paid?

June 03, 2015 by Kathryn Carlson

Is your unpaid internship legally supposed to be paid?

As summer approaches and you make the important decision of whether or not to hire a summer intern an important detail to consider is whether or not you will be required to pay your interns.

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), internships for private, for-profit companies are mostly likely viewed as employment; this means that they are considered non-exempt from minimum wage and overtime compensation requirements. There are, however, a handful of circumstances when internships at private, for-profit companies may be unpaid.

As defined by the Department of Labor (DOL) the following six criteria should be applied to determine whether or not an internship is legal:

  1. The internship is similar to training and is provided in an educational environment.
  2. The internship is provided for the benefit of the intern.
  3. The internship does not displace regular employees and works under supervision of the existing staff.
  4. The employer who provides training does not derive an immediate advantage from the tasks the intern completes.
  5. The intern is not guaranteed a job once the internship concludes.
  6. The employer and the intern are in agreement and understand that the intern is not entitled to wages throughout the duration of their internship.

Are you abiding by the Fair Labor Standards Act with the interns at your work? Do you have questions about whether or not your internship should be paid? Contact [email protected] with questions.

Learn more about the HR Management Solutions and outsourced HR Resources programs at KPA.

Posted in: Human Resources Management Tags: FLSA, Internship payments, Paid part timers, Unpaid interns