In light of a number of lawsuits filed on behalf of persons who worked as unpaid (or nearly unpaid) interns for unpaid wages and/or overtime pay, as reported in the New York Times, Conde Nast Faces Suit From Interns Over Wages, the pertinent question is: do interns have to be paid minimum wage and/or overtime? The federal Department of Labor has issued guidance in a fact sheet and it identifies the following six factors as determinative of whether an internship may be paid or unpaid:
1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
So there is no clear-cut answer; whether or not an intern should or must be paid will depend upon the circumstances applicable to each situation.
Lexington, Kentucky overtime lawyer Robert Abell helps individuals and employees recover the wages and overtime they've earned but not been paid; contact him at 859-254-7076.