If you are using interns this summer, the Department of Labor
(DOL) has provided guidance on this issue regarding the Fair Labor
Standards Act (FLSA). According to the DOL, a person may be considered
a "trainee" or a student, and not an employee entitled
to minimum wage and overtime under the FLSA, if all of the following
six criteria are met:
1. The training the person receives is similar to that which would
be given in a vocational school.
2. The training is for the benefit of the trainee or student.
3. The trainee or student does not displace regular employees,
but works under their close supervision.
4. The employer that provides the training does not derive any
immediate advantage from the activities of the trainee or student,
and on occasion its operations may be impeded.
5. The trainee or student is not necessarily entitled to a job
at the conclusion of the training period.
6. The employer and the trainee or student understand that the
trainee or student is not entitled to wages for the time spent
So, if the students are receiving training that benefits them,
rather than you, and the training furthers their educational goals,
the DOL typically will not consider them to be employees. Similarly,
if the students receive academic credit for their work, they likely
will not be considered employees.