Unpaid Internships - Legal Compliance with Wage & Hour Laws

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As summer approaches, businesses and nonprofits across the country are preparing for an onslaught of energetic interns. Internships often provide students invaluable experience, enhancing their resumes and future workforce productivity. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' latest study, half of 2008 college graduates had internship experiences. Although no official system tracks the metrics of internships (e .g. quantity, duration, industry distribution, percent paid versus volunteer), these internships represent hundreds of thousands of students. Internships benefit not only students but also the businesses and nonprofits that hire them. Such organizations profit from engaging highly motivated, free or low-cost workers who provide a talent assessment pool for future hires. And it is precisely these marketplace benefits that are attracting the increased scrutiny and action of state and federal labor departments.

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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.

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