A big heads-up for any business that might be looking at interns as potential low-cost or no-cost employee substitutes this summer: A federal judge has told Fox Searchlight picture that interns who are actually useful to the business have to be paid.
Many employers think that interns don’t have to be paid as long as there is some “educational” component to the intern’s time with a company. Not so, said Judge William H. Pauley III, citing Department of Labor rules for internships. Basically, if the intern is doing work that is useful to the employer or is doing work that a regular employee would usually do, the intern has to be paid. Oh, and having the intern get college credit doesn’t relieve the employer from having to pay the intern.
The New York Times has all the bad news for employers and good news for interns here. You also can read the Labor Department’s Fact Sheet on internship programs–including the six, count ‘em, six, factors that have to be met in order for an intern to NOT be paid.