Are you thinking about starting an unpaid internship program for your company? Do you want to hire an intern to assist you and your employees? Don’t know where to begin the process? It is easy to start your own internship program but you need to be aware of the legal aspects involved in hiring unpaid interns.
To protect your company you will need an unpaid internship agreement. It is a must for both you and the intern. An unpaid internship agreement will legally protect your company while setting the guidelines for your newly hired intern.
-A licensed attorney will be able to provide legal counsel to protect your company. It is important to consider all the legal aspects when considering creating an internship program and hiring an unpaid internship for your company.
-Being familiar with all the specific regulations and laws in your state are key when hiring an unpaid intern.
-Consulting a lawyer will help guide you and decide what role your intern will play in your company.
-Following the Fair Labor Standards Act will protect you from any possible legal actions against your company. (You may read more about the Fair Labor Standards Act and Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act here).
-When posting for your unpaid internship it is vital to list the requirements, work hours, duration and structure of the internship.
-Be sure to advertise early to get the most and best candidates. Investigate when local colleges or universities allow their students to participate in internships and when they are open to the recruiting process. The academic calendar is different from the fiscal year of companies.
-Recruit interns from colleges that require course credit for unpaid internships. This will help your unpaid internship pass the legal scrutiny.
-During the interview process it is important to discuss with the potential intern the guidelines associated with your unpaid internship.
- Be sure to emphasis that the internship is not associated with any compensation to the intern. Also stipulate that the intern will not receive any monetary payment for their work or receive a full time position of employment after the internship.
-Review office routines and the role of a current employee within the company to mentor the intern.
- Work with the intern to establish how many hours they will work to obtain the college credits required for their internship (if applicable).
-Once you have decided which intern to hire, a written unpaid internship agreement is a must. The document will outline all the specific details of the internship and define their role within the company.
- It will be important to state that the internship will benefit the intern who is not considered as an employee of the company. The wording will need to be concise and reviewed with the intern.
-Signatures of both the intern and a company representative are required on the dated written agreement.
- The written agreement should be kept on file within the company. A copy should be given to the intern along with an additional copy sent to the intern’s advisor at their attending college (if applicable).
-The written agreement will act as a legal document to define the unpaid internship and all it entails.
Your unpaid internship needs to be legal to protect your company. A written agreement signed by you and your intern will help establish the rules and define your intern’s role in your company.
To learn more about how to hire an unpaid intern and all the legal issues surrounding unpaid interns please register for one of upcoming free webinars on how to hire an unpaid intern.
Or you can download our Unpaid Internships Legal Kitfor a written report, legal
presentation and unpaid internship agreement.