Resist the Urge to Hire Unpaid Interns That Do Not Meet DOL Standards

Written by Robert G. Brody on March 25, 2011

It is the time of year when employers begin drafting their recruitment plans for summer interns.  Over the past several years, the word “intern” has become synonymous with the word “unpaid.”  However, the Department of Labor has been adamant in reinforcing its strict rules regarding when an internship actually qualifies as unpaid.  If your interns do not meet these strict requirements, you must pay them at least minimum wage and overtime.

Some key points to remember are:

  • Interns cannot replace a worker who would otherwise be doing that work;
  • Interns should be there purely for an educational experience;
  • Interns should not expect or be promised a job upon completion of the internship;
  • Employers should not get an advantage by having the intern; in fact, the intern should be a burden on the employer; and
  • Interns should be informed they will not receive compensation for their time there.

These rules are not new but are often forgotten so we want to remind you of the rules as you begin recruiting for the summer.  Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with state and federal employment laws including wage and hour laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at or 203.965.0560.

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About the Authors

Robert G. Brody is the founding member of Brody and Associates, LLC. He has been quoted and published in national publications and appears as a guest T.V. commentator on contemporary Labor and Employment issues. Learn More