Question: We want to hire a summer intern. Do we have to pay them?Answer:
A business can provide unpaid internships for students receiving academic credit or completing a requirement for a vocational degree. If the student is not receiving credit, he/she should be treated as an employee and paid at least minimum wage. (You also have the option to pay a learner’s wage during the first 160 hours of employment or 90 days, whichever comes first, which is 85% of minimum wage or $6.80.)
According to the Department of Labor, other criteria is required if you are not treating the intern as an employee and will not pay them a wage:
- The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school.
- The training is for the benefit of the trainee.
- The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under close observation.
- 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.
- The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the completion of the training period.
- The employer and the trainee understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.