HR Support on Trainees and Interns

Editor's Note: Unpaid internships and training programs are allowed only under strict rules.

Michael CardmanOverview: Internships and other training programs can benefit employers in several ways. The most significant perhaps is the chance to observe the intern in action, which can help the employer to evaluate an intern's job fitness more deeply than a résumé, references and interviews ever could. Also, the experience that interns and trainees gain can help ready them to contribute immediately once they are hired, unlike other hires who may require on-the-job training.

Trainees and interns should be paid the minimum wage and overtime, as required for all employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), unless very strict criteria are met. Employers that wish to establish unpaid internships or training programs should carefully follow guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor and be sure they are following any relevant state requirements, as well.

Trends: A prominent lawsuit involving unpaid interns who worked for the Fox Searchlight movie studio has brought national attention to the issue. Such litigation can sometimes inspire copycat lawsuits, so employers that engage unpaid interns or trainees should be prepared for the possibility of a court challenge.

Author: Michael Cardman, Legal Editor

Latest items in Trainees and Interns

  • Type:
    Legal Insight

    Unpaid internships or training programs can result in a lawsuit for back wages and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) unless specific criteria are satisfied. This Legal Insight analyzes standards established by the US Department of Labor and by the federal courts in an effort to guide employers that may wish to establish unpaid internships or training programs.

  • 11th Circuit Sets Criteria for Unpaid Internships in Alabama, Florida and Georgia: Legal Insight Updated

    Date:
    September 17, 2015
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has adopted an employer-friendly standard for determining whether an intern should be considered an employee entitled to the minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in Schumann v. Collier Anesthesia, P.A.

  • 2nd Circuit Sets Criteria for Unpaid Internships in Connecticut, New York and Vermont: Legal Insight Updated

    Date:
    July 7, 2015
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has established an employer-friendly standard for determining whether an intern should be considered an employee entitled to the minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc.

  • Unpaid Interns and Trainees: Legal Insight Updated to Reflect New 8th Circuit Ruling

    Date:
    May 7, 2014
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals left the door open for future cases in which the facts might weigh in favor of an employer under a Supreme Court standard but not under the US Department of Labor's six-factor test for determining whether a trainee or intern is an employee.

  • Interns

    Date:
    April 18, 2014
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    When school is out, many students and new graduates look to gain real-world experience through internships. However, an employer hoping to take advantage of these interns as a source of free labor should think twice. Unless an internship satisfies strict criteria, interns must be treated like employees, meaning they must be paid the minimum wage and overtime.

  • Does an employer have to pay interns?

    Type:
    FAQs

  • New Content Added on Unpaid Internships

    Date:
    April 29, 2013
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    A new Legal Insight and a new How To about unpaid internships under the Fair Labor Standards Act have been added to XpertHR.

  • How to Structure an Unpaid Internship or Training Program

    Type:
    How To

    This How To details the steps a prudent employer should take to increase the likelihood that interns or trainees are not employees.

  • Independent Contractors: Indiana

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Indiana employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to independent contractors.