Summertime Blues: Student Interns and Volunteers

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Summer is the time of year when businesses often use student interns. Many businesses erroneously assume that student interns are not employees, particularly if they “volunteer” or if they are earning college credit for work performed. While it is true that college students under certain circumstances may be classified correctly as non-employees, not all qualify.

This advisory highlights key issues and best practices related to using student interns and the limits on using volunteers. Child labor or other student-learner subjects are beyond the scope of this brief summary.

Be familiar with the six-factor test

The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) applies the following six-factor test regarding student interns. All six factors must be met, otherwise an employment relationship exists and the student intern is considered an employee who must be paid under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

1. The training, even though it includes actual operations of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school;

2. The training is for the benefit of the trainees;

3. The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under close observation;

4. The employer providing the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded;

5. The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the completion of the training period; and

6. The employer and the trainees understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.

Please see full article below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Davis Wright Tremaine LLP | Attorney Advertising

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