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
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 The Buckley Law Firm, LLC, P.C. for a confidential consultation.