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Should you be paid for your summer internship?

With summer upon us, many students are seeking valuable summer internships as a way to gain work experience, and hopefully some money too.  However, much confusion exists over whether these internships must be paid, or whether the work experience is sufficient compensation.

In general, internships should be paid when the work done benefits the employer, more so than the employee, however, several factors are involved in making this determination.   The Department of Labor has set forth numerous factors to help evaluate who is the “primary beneficiary” of the internship. These include:

  1.       Does the intern expect to be paid? 
  2.       Is the training similar to that which would be provided in an educational environment?
  3.       Will the intern be receiving credit or is the internship part of an academic program?
  4.       Does the internship correspond to an academic calendar?
  5.       Is the internship limited to the time period in which the intern receives “beneficial learning”?
  6.       Does the internship displace other the work of paid employees?

While no one factor is conclusive, if the intern’s work is providing a benefit to the employer, in most situations he or she must be paid.  Further, where it is determined that the intern should be paid, he or she must receive at least minimum wage and overtime compensation if non-exempt. 

If you have questions about whether you should be paid for your work as an intern, or any other wage and hour concern, please contact our experienced Georgia employment law attorneys at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.

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