The Ins and Outs of Unpaid Internships
In the current job market, experience is everything, so students are looking to add some to their resume well before graduation. Your store can help by teaching your expansive set of skills to those interested through an internship! Not to mention, student interns can offer you a wealth of information about your target audience, too! For a variety of reasons, some stores offer this experience without pay, leaving them subject to several laws and conditions. If you’re considering creating an unpaid internship, make sure you adhere to the guidelines below!
The following excerpt is from the article, 6 Keys to Keeping Unpaid Internships From Becoming a Wage & Hour Mess, written by Eric B. Meyer for TNLT.com.
Generally, individuals who work must be compensated under the law for the services they perform for an employer. Under federal law, the compensation must be at least $7.25 per hour. Plus, if the employee is non-exempt, the employee must be paid OT (time and a half) for all hours worked over 40 in a work week.
There is an exception for internships and training programs. Free labor is permitted under the FLSA, provided that six criteria are met:
- 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:
- The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
- The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
- 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;
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
- The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
If all of the factors listed above are met, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and minimum wage and overtime provisions will not apply. However, be sure to check and adhere to any of the more restrictive state laws that may exist where you have interns, too.
You can find more information on this subject in Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act.
Do you hire interns at your store? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments section!
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