The best practices for avoiding trouble when hiring interns
Offering internships to college students can be an inexpensive way to supplement the workforce and provide students with an opportunity to gain valuable career-related work experience and apply classroom knowledge to real world work in mentored environments. For employers, they offer assistance with seasonal or project needs, and infuse companies with youthful energy and cutting-edge ideas and technologies. Internships can be paid or unpaid, part- or full-time.
Designating the time a student spends with an organization as an internship, however, does not automatically mean the student can be considered an unpaid intern or trainee. The same is true even if the student is receiving college credit for the internship. Whether a student intern must be paid for the work performed depends on whether he or she is considered an employee under the FLSA. To determine whether an employment relationship exists, the following six criteria from the U.S. Department of Labor must be met. A student intern is generally not considered an employee if:
If all of the factors listed above are met, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the intern.
Six Steps To A Successful Internship Program
If your organization is going to establish a student internship program, determine the program's objectives, the training that will be provided, and the activities the student(s) will perform prior to the first day of the internship. Taking these steps will not only help ensure the success of the internship program but will also assist you in deciding if a student should be classified as an employee or an unpaid trainee.
An employer that fails to properly classify a student intern as an employee can be liable for back wages, unpaid overtime, unpaid payroll taxes and benefits, and penalties.
HR One has partnered with Le Moyne College to provide our clients with access to the resumes of students looking for internships.
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