Unpaid interns may actually be entitled to pay despite the employer classifying the intern as unpaid and the intern agreeing to take the unpaid internship. The Wage Laws and Overtime Laws do not make it easy for employers to avoid the minimum wage and overtime laws – even for interns.
Wage laws are commonly applied to employees. However, employers may try to circumvent the wage laws by classifying an employee as an intern.
The Wage Laws have set forth the following test to determine whether you are an employee or an intern and entitled to the pay and benefits by the employer:
The internship is similar to an educational environment and provides training (most critical);
The internship is for the benefit of the intern and not the employer;
The intern is closely supervised by the employer;
The intern does not replace the job of an employee;
The employer does not guarantee employment at the end of the internship; and
The employer and intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages.
The employer must meet all 6 of these requirements in order to have an unpaid intern. Keep in mind that this test is for “for-profit” businesses and does not apply to “non-profit” charitable organizations.
This test is very fact specific and you should contact us for a free consultation to determine whether you are entitled to wages and overtime as part of your unpaid internship.
Dated: May 7, 2010 – Castronovo & McKinney – Wage Laws