To Pay, Or Not to Pay: Department of Labor Revises Rules for Unpaid Interns

To Pay, Or Not to Pay: Department of Labor Revises Rules for Unpaid Interns

In January 2018, the United States Department of Labor (“USDOL”) revised its approach to determining whether interns must be paid wages for their work.  The general rule is that employers must pay employees minimum wage and overtime.  “Interns,” however, may be exempt from the minimum wage and overtime laws.

Under its old approach, the USDOL applied an inflexible six-factor test and held interns must be paid unless all six factors were satisfied.  Under its new test – known as the “primary beneficiary” test – the USDOL determines this question on a case-by-case basis, and no one factor is determinative.  Those factors focus on the intern and employer’s expectations in terms of compensation, the nexus between the work and the intern’s academic obligations, and the benefit of the intern’s work to the employer.

Employers who utilize interns should be aware of these changes and review how those workers are compensated.  If you require assistance determining whether your interns may be unpaid, or have any other questions, please contact one of our Labor and Employment attorneys: Tom Ryan, Esq. (tryan@lcrlaw.com); Ursula Leo, Esq. (uleo@lcrlaw.com); Jessica Jansyn, Esq. (jjansyn@lcrlaw.com); or Michael Darbee, Esq. (mdarbee@lcrlaw.com). Our attorneys can also be reached by phone at (973) 729-1880.