Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Rincker Law Food & Ag Law Leave a Comment

Summer is around the corner.. and ’tis the season for unpaid interns!  I recently came across this helpful factsheet from the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, on internship programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

The factsheet clearly defines the test that is used for determining whether the “trainee” test for interns is satisfied so that the employer in the “for-profit” sector does have have to pay minimum wage and overtime compensation if that person words over 40 hours in a workweek.  The six criteria are as follows:

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.

If all six of the above factors are met, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA.  If you have further questions, please speak to an employment lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction.

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