Announcing the Many Paths, One Future Internship Grant sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development! Click the link for more information. Please contact us in Career Planning if you are interested in participating. This opportunity is available to certain key industries.
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Wage and Hour Division (WHD) - (Updated January 2018)
Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act
This fact sheet provides general information to help determine whether interns and students working for “for-profit” employers are entitled to minimum wages and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).1
The FLSA requires “for-profit” employers to pay employees for their work. Interns and students, however, may not be “employees” under the FLSA—in which case the FLSA does not require compensation for their work.
The Test for Unpaid Interns and Students
Courts have used the “primary beneficiary test” to determine whether an intern or student is, in fact, an employee under the FLSA.2 In short, this test allows courts to examine the “economic reality” of the intern-employer relationship to determine which party is the “primary beneficiary” of the relationship. Courts have identified the following seven factors as part of the test:
The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee—and vice versa.
The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.
The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
The extent to which the intern’s work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.
Courts have described the “primary beneficiary test” as a flexible test, and no single factor is determinative. Accordingly, whether an intern or student is an employee under the FLSA necessarily depends on the unique circumstances of each case.
If analysis of these circumstances reveals that an intern or student is actually an employee, then he or she is entitled to both minimum wage and overtime pay under the FLSA. On the other hand, if the analysis confirms that the intern or student is not an employee, then he or she is not entitled to either minimum wage or overtime pay under the FLSA.
Where to Obtain Additional Information
This publication is for general information and is not a regulation. For additional information, visit our Wage and Hour Division Website: http://www.wagehour.dol.gov and/or call our toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).
1 - The FLSA exempts certain people who volunteer to perform services for a state or local government agency or who volunteer for humanitarian purposes for non-profit food banks. WHD also recognizes an exception for individuals who volunteer their time, freely and without anticipation of compensation, for religious, charitable, civic, or humanitarian purposes to non-profit organizations. Unpaid internships for public sector and non-profit charitable organizations, where the intern volunteers without expectation of compensation, are generally permissible.
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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE ACADEMIC INTERNSHIP PROGRAM:
Caldwell University recognizes the valuable role that work experience can play in helping students understand and integrate theoretical and practical knowledge. Students interested in pursuing an internship for academic credit work with an internship faculty advisor and the Career Planning and Development Office. Students must receive approval for the proposed internship, develop learning objectives and goals in consultation with the internship faculty advisor, work under the supervision of the employer and complete related academic assignments.
All academic internships require departmental approval. To be eligible, students must have completed 60 credits and maintain an overall GPA of 2.5. In certain cases, students who have completed 45 credits and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA may pursue for-credit internships. Transfer students must complete at least one semester at Caldwell University to be eligible. Internships can be paid or non-paid. To earn credit for an internship, students must follow established policies and procedures, begin the process well before the semester for which they plan to register, and then register for the appropriate credit-bearing course by the appropriate semester deadlines.
Students are eligible to earn up to 3 credits per semester for an internship experience and a maximum of 9 credits, subject to departmental approval. For most academic departments, internships may fulfill elective credit. Students pursuing more than one semester with the same employer (to a maximum of two semesters for credit) must demonstrate increased level of responsibilities in their internship experience and develop substantive learning objectives, to be approved by the departmental chair. Students majoring in Sociology and Criminal Justice are required to complete one 3-credit, 120 hour internship as part of their curriculum.
To download the Academic Internships Policies and Procedures Manual, go to:
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