The Department of Labor’s crackdown on businesses illegally failing to pay their interns began in 2010, with the DOL applying a rigid six-part test to determine whether an intern must be paid at least minimum wage for time spent working. This caused a lot of consternation in media companies, with many electing to just drop internship programs. For those media companies, and the students that faced a suddenly diminished number of available internships, an announcement this past week from the Department of Labor will be welcome news.
Interns are a perennial part of the media landscape, and you have probably heard a lot over the last few years on the subject of unpaid interns. Specifically, that unless they qualify as genuine interns under a six-part Department of Labor test, businesses are required to treat them (and therefore pay them) as employees. However, change may be on the way.
Spring break is fading in the rear view. Summer’s just around the corner. Soon the interns will be flocking to your door — if they haven’t already jammed your inbox — all looking for an opportunity to add a way cool media-related internship to their résumés. So it’s a good time to remind you that you should think hard about whether you need to pay those interns instead of claiming that their “compensation” consists solely of school credit.