I am a big fan of hiring interns as it is typically a win-win. The intern gets much needed work experience and you get talent for a very reasonable pay rate. Not to mention, you build your pipeline of talent — hopefully, your intern will want to work with you once they graduate and will let their friends know that your company is a great place to work!
One of the most common questions about interns is whether or not they need to be paid.
Per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:
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.
If the internship meets ALL six of these criteria, then you do NOT need to pay your intern. However, you need to really be sure that the internship meets these criteria; otherwise
you could be violating the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA which can result in fines, penalties, and back pay. Be sure to review additional details about the criteria in the FLSA Intern
Fact Sheet here.
YOUR TURN: Do you pay your interns? If not, how have you structured their internship to ensure it doesn’t violate any of the FLSA 6 point criteria? Please leave your comment below.