Fair Labor Law

INTERNSHIPS

Internships are for second semester juniors and seniors.  Interns are not volunteers. The duration of an internship hours is 50-150 hours during a 3-4month time period.  Internships may be taken during the Fall or Spring semester or during the summer.

Please talk to your Chair or Robin Fuld before accepting a paid or unpaid internship. They would be happy to answer any questions.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has developed the six factors below to evaluate whether a worker is a trainee or an employee for purposes of the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act):


1. The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to what would be given in a vocational school or academic educational instruction;

2. The training is for the benefit of the trainees;

3. The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under their close observation;

4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded;

5. The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period; and

6. The employer and the trainees understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.


If all of the factors listed above are met, then the worker is a “trainee”, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the worker.  Because the FLSA’s definition of “employee” is broad, the excluded category of “trainee” is necessarily quite narrow.  Moreover, the fact that an employer labels a worker as a trainee and the worker’s activities as training and/or a state unemployment compensation program develops what it calls a training program and describes the unemployed workers who participate as trainees does not make the worker a trainee for purposes of the FLSA unless the six factors are met.  Some of the six factors are discussed in more detail below.

 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has developed the seven factors below to evaluate whether a worker is a trainee or an employee for purposes of the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act):

1. The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee—and vice versa.

2. The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.

3. The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.

4. The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.

5. The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.

6. The extent to which the intern’s work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.

7. The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.

If analysis of these circumstances reveals that an intern or student is actually an employee, then he or she is entitled to both minimum wage and overtime pay under the FLSA. On the other hand, if the analysis confirms that the intern or student is not an employee, then he or she is not entitled to either minimum wage or overtime pay under the FLSA.
For additional information, visit the Wage and Hour Division Website: http://www.wagehour.dol.gov and/or call our toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).