Fair Labor Standards Act on Internship Programs
Paid versus Unpaid Internships
If your organization supports unpaid internships, Seton Hall University's Career Center recommends that all organizations review the U.S. Department of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act on Internship Programs.
It is strongly preferred that organizations pay interns for work performed.
If your organization is unable to offer a paid internship, please consider helping the student with a stipend or expenses related to their internship such as transportation costs, meals, etc.
Unpaid internships will not violate the U.S. Department of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act if it is a training program which meets the following criteria:
- 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.
For additional information, please refer to the Department of Labor's Guidelines »