With spring approaching and summer not far off, employers and students begin thinking about summer jobs, including summer internships. Many employers have gotten in trouble for using “unpaid interns” as a way around paying hard working employees the wages they are entitled to. The good news is that employers are slowly recognizing that strict rules exist concerning when it is fair to offer an unpaid internship and that it may be a violation of the federal fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) if they fail to pay adequate wages. According to a recent report although fewer internships may be offered, it’s more likely that they will be paid.
Before you look for an unpaid internship, or entry-level job, it is important to understand a few basic rules about what type of position may be properly categorized as an unpaid internship and when your employer is required to pay you for your work.
If you have any questions, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney to answer your wage and hour questions and ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
The Department of Labor sets forth specific rules concerning when an internship can be unpaid. For example, where an internship is unpaid, the company must provide the individual training – the intern cannot just be working to benefit the company. In some cases, the employer may not derive any advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded. Additionally, it’s important that an intern not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff.
The Wage and Hour Division of the DOL sets forth additional unpaid internship guidelines. The bottom line – if you are working solely to benefit a company without receiving any training – it is likely you are entitled to receive pay for your efforts.
For more information about paid or unpaid internship, or any other wage and hour question, contact the knowledgeable Georgia wage and hour attorneys at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, P.C. for a confidential case evaluation.