By: Darla J. McClure
Media Type: Alert
Should I pay my summer intern? Many employers ask this question at the start of the summer season, and it’s an important one because failing to properly categorize the internship as paid could have a devastating effect on the employer.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) states that individuals who are “employed” must be compensated for the services they perform for an employer. FLSA broadly interprets the term “employed” to mean “suffer or permit to work.” Given this broad interpretation, most interns would qualify as employed and must be paid minimum wage and overtime in order to comply with FLSA. State or local laws, which have different minimum wage requirements.
FLSA has permitted certain exceptions to this rule, one of which is individuals who work for a “for-profit,” private sector employer in an internship or training program that meets certain criteria. The determination of whether an internship or training program meets this exception depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of the program. FLSA has set forth six specific factors that must be met in order to fall within the exception and allow interns to be in unpaid positions:
The employer must satisfy all of the criteria set forth above in order to have a bona fide unpaid internship or training program. If all of the criteria are satisfied, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA and the minimum wage and overtime requirements do not apply to the intern.
If you have questions about hiring or paying summer interns, or any other questions related to employment law, please contact one of the attorneys in our Employment Law Department.
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