Be Careful with Interns!

Thinking of hiring an intern?

Proceed with caution.  Internships can certainly help you:

  • Get work done
  • Assess potential new hires on the job
  • Bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas and up-to-date skill sets to your organization

However, they also come with very real risks.  The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is more closely scrutinizing how companies use and classify interns – including whether or not they should be paid.  According to the DOL Wage and Hour Division’s Fact Sheet, 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 a forty in a workweek.

The DOL has also set forth the following guidelines to characterize a true internship:

1.       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.

2.       The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern.

3.       The intern does not displace regular employees but works under close supervision of existing staff.

4.       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.

5.       The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.

6.       The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

Before you hire an intern (especially an unpaid one), think about what they will do, how you will help them learn, how your organization stands to benefit from their work, and whether or not you have the resources to properly manage them.

Of course, if you’re not interested in the legal risks that come with hiring interns, temporary employees provide a great alternative.  They offer all of the advantages of an intern, but without the risks.  So if you want to bring fresh perspective to your company’s challenges, increase productivity or focus on more strategic priorities, PrideStaff’s temporary staffing services may be just what you need.  Contact us today to learn more.