Summer Internships – make it a rewarding learning experience!

It’s summertime and the labor market is tight – is hiring an intern the solution? Internships can be a great experience all around. Companies get an opportunity to bring on a new team member and develop their talent pipeline. Interns get the opportunity to learn new functions, gain work experience and build up their resumes.

To pay or not to pay interns – that is the question? Employers who hire unpaid interns might fall foul of labor laws. It’s important to ensure that the internship is a true learning and training experience, otherwise the intern could look a lot like an employee who isn’t get paid!

There are certain rules employers must follow to ensure that unpaid interns are receiving a learning and training experience.

These rules include…

  • Interns cannot displace regular employees.
  • Interns are not guaranteed a job at the end of the internship.
  • The employer and the intern(s) understand that the interns are not entitled to wages during the internship period.
  • Interns must receive training from the company, even if it somewhat impedes on the work of the organization.
  • Interns must get hands-on experience with equipment and processes used in the industry.
  • Interns’ training must primarily benefit them, not the company.

If these rules aren’t followed, the intern could be considered an employee who must be paid at least the minimum wage and earn overtime. If you’re not sure your internship program meets all these requirements then you can pay the intern minimum wage and hire them as a seasonal or temporary employee instead. With this scenario everyone wins!

BlueFire HR can develop custom Internship and Recruiting programs and strategies designed to meet your business needs. Reach out today and see how we can help! For more information, please contact us at, 773-793-1362 or at 888-892-9597.


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