New York Laws that Govern Paid and Unpaid Interns
Some businesses hire interns or take on unpaid interns. This may seem like a good idea, and the costs of paying an intern are usually less than a regular worker. However, if taking on an unpaid intern, it is vital that the business owner understands the requirements.
NY law defines the rules that differentiate an employee from an unpaid intern.
If the employment relationship does not meet all the 11 criteria for an unpaid intern, then the employer must pay the intern based on minimum wage law.
NY Law for Hiring Unpaid Interns
Under New York Labor Law, the 11 criteria are as follows:
- The training must be similar to training in an educational program.
- The training is for the intern’s benefit. An example would be that the academic institution would give the student credit for the internship. Any benefit to the employer would be incidental.
- The intern does not replace regular workers and must work under close supervision. When interns receive the same supervision as other employees, it indicates an employee relationship and not an intern relationship.
- The employer does not gain an advantage from the intern’s work. In fact, the intern may sometimes actually impede the business’s operations.
- Once the internship concludes, the intern is not necessarily entitled to a job.
- The intern receives written notification about not being paid any wages.
- Persons who supervise the intern must be competent, knowledgeable and have adequate experience to meet the educational goals and requirements of the training program.
- Interns do not receive employee benefits (i.e. health and dental insurance, discounted or free goods or services or pension/retirement credit).
- The intern is receiving general training for the type of industry or business. The intern is not receiving training for a specific job with the employer who is offering the program.
- The employer uses a different screening process to acquire an unpaid intern than the process being used to hire employees. The process is based on an educational program and not a job.
- The advertisements, postings or solicitations for interns focus on education rather than employment.
If you have concerns about hiring interns, our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates are glad to advise you. We also represent employers in all types of employment related disputes.