May 15, 2014 at 9:00 am #2285
I have already graduated college with a associates degree. Most jobs require 2+ yrs experience or a bachelors degree. I should have taken an internship during my college studies but did not do so.
My question is, what is the requirements for internship? Do you need to be enrolled in classes to do an internship? I have a interview on Monday for paid internship but do not know if I qualify for internship since I am not enrolled in any classes. It is paid and I know it is not permanent but it will be work experience which I do not currently have. Any input and/or advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks all for your time
May 15, 2014 at 9:02 am #2288
Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act
This fact sheet provides general information to help determine whether interns must be paid the minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act for the services that they provide to “for-profit” private sector employers.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines the term “employ” very broadly as including to “suffer or permit to work.” Covered and non-exempt individuals who are “suffered or permitted” to work must be compensated under the law for the services they perform for an employer. Internships in the “for-profit” private sector will most often be viewed as employment, unless the test described below relating to trainees is met. Interns in the “for-profit” private sector who qualify as employees rather than trainees typically must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over forty in a workweek.
The Test For Unpaid Interns
There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in “for-profit” private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation. The Supreme Court has held that the term “suffer or permit to work” cannot be interpreted so as to make a person whose work serves only his or her own interest an employee of another who provides aid or instruction. This may apply to interns who receive training for their own educational benefit if the training meets certain criteria. The determination of whether an internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of each such program.
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;
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 the Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the intern. This exclusion from the definition of employment is necessarily quite narrow because the FLSA’s definition of “employ” is very broad. Some of the most commonly discussed factors for “for-profit” private sector internship programs are considered below.
Similar To An Education Environment And The Primary Beneficiary Of The Activity
In general, the more an internship program is structured around a classroom or academic experience as opposed
to the employer’s actual operations, the more likely the internship will be viewed as an extension of the
individual’s educational experience (this often occurs where a college or university exercises oversight over the
internship program and provides educational credit). The more the internship provides the individual with skills
that can be used in multiple employment settings, as opposed to skills particular to one employer’s operation,
the more likely the intern would be viewed as receiving training. Under these circumstances the intern does not
perform the routine work of the business on a regular and recurring basis, and the business is not dependent
upon the work of the intern. On the other hand, if the interns are engaged in the operations of the employer or
are performing productive work (for example, filing, performing other clerical work, or assisting customers),
then the fact that they may be receiving some benefits in the form of a new skill or improved work habits will
not exclude them from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements because the employer benefits
from the interns’ work.
Displacement And Supervision Issues
If an employer uses interns as substitutes for regular workers or to augment its existing workforce during
specific time periods, these interns should be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for
hours worked over forty in a workweek.
For additional information, visit our Wage and Hour Division and/or call our toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866-
U.S. Department of Labor
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