Monday – September 23, 2019

Paid vs. Unpaid Internship?

Internships for credit must run through the academic semester in coordination with the intern's class schedule.
MATC strongly encourages paid internships.

Since students must pay tuition for an internship for credit, it is often more difficult to fill unpaid internship openings. In these cases, many employers offer a stipend to cover the cost of the internship credit.

Providing a paid internship also may increase the number of applications you receive for the position, and it would be an incentive for those students who have to maintain a part-time job to help cover their expenses. Ultimately, the employer determines whether an internship is paid or unpaid.

Criteria for Unpaid Interns

The legal considerations are addressed through six criteria for unpaid interns for the service they provide to "for-profit" private sector employers articulated in the Fair Labor Standards Act, Fact Sheet #71

Essentially, if the six criteria are met, the Department of Labor (DOL) considers there to be no employment relationship. The six criteria established by the DOL are:

  • The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the employer's facilities, is similar to training that would be given in a vocational school.
  • The internship experience is for the benefit of the student.
  • The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under the close observation of a regular employee.
  • The employer provides the training and derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern. Occasionally, the operations may actually be impeded.
  • The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.
  • The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time in the internship.