Points To Keep In Mind
- Even if a student is working through a school program for which he or she is being “paid” in college credits, the student is still permitted, under the FLSA, to be compensated, unless the employer is not deriving any immediate advantage by using him/her.
- Paid interns make ideal workers — hungry to learn, eager to make a good impression and willing to perform a multitude of tasks. The relatively small amount of money employers spend on intern wages and benefits is a good investment, because it often produces future, long-term employees.
- The employer should identify the specific terms and conditions of employment (e.g., dates of employment as an intern, including the date the internship will end; compensation; organizational and/or reporting relationships; principal duties, tasks or responsibilities; working conditions; confidentiality; any other expectations of the employer), and should discuss these with the prospective intern, so that there is no misunderstanding regarding the relationship. Also, it may make good sense to document such a discussion with a written agreement. This should be made in consultation with the educational institution.
- If an intern is harassed at your organization, and you don’t do anything about it, your organization opens itself to the risk of lawsuits. Take time to advise your interns of appropriate workplace behavior, the organization’s harassment policy and complaint procedures.