New Federal Guidelines Impact Internships

May 27, 2010 

(COLUMBUS, OH) – Just in time for the summer intern season, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued new guidelines employers must meet in order to use unpaid interns.  The guidelines shift many traditional internships into the temporary staffing category for for-profit businesses. 

“While in the past the work experience gained by interns was considered sufficient payment, that is no longer the case,” said Kristen Harris, co-owner and founder of Portfolio Creative, the fastest growing creative staffing and recruiting firm in the U.S.  “Now if internships do not meet some very specific requirements, they are considered temporary jobs and subject to fair wage laws and taxation requirements.”

If an employer uses interns as substitutes or to augment its existing workforce, interns must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation.  If interns are later hired by the company, their internship is now viewed as trial employment and must be paid.

“This is a big shift,” added Catherine Lang-Cline, co-owner and founder of Portfolio Creative.  “Many of the types of jobs most of us associate with internships no longer fit the category, and companies should carefully review their internship programs to be sure they are in compliance with the new regulations.”

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division has identified six criteria that must be met for an internship to be unpaid.  They are: the internship must be similar to training that would be given in an educational environment, the internship is for the benefit of the intern, the intern supplements but does not displace existing staff, and the intern is not entitled to a job at the end of the internship.  Additionally the intern and employer must agree that no wages will be provided and the employer must receive no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern.

Additional information on the new guidelines is available at:

         An Inc. 500 fastest growing firm, Portfolio Creative offers products and services designed to help companies streamline and innovate their creative work to save time, energy and money.  It is Columbus’ 12th fastest growing company.  Portfolio Creative has offices in Columbus and Dayton, Ohio.  Clients and creative talent can call (614) 839-4897 in Columbus or (937) 528-1028 in Dayton.