Interns are great. They perform skilled tasks for minimum wage or sometimes even for free, in exchange for exposure and experience within a particular field of work. If properly managed, internships can benefit both the employer and the intern in many ways, but if not properly managed, an employer runs the risk of failing to be compliant with U.S laws concerning internships.
The most important legal issue with internships is whether the employer must pay the intern. For private-sector employers in the US, the intern should almost always be paid at least minimum wage. The U.S. Department of Labor recognizes very narrow exceptions to the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for private-sector internships and for-profit organizations. However, non-profit organizations and public-sector employers, are typically given greater latitude in determining whether or not to pay interns.
Just as a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) assists with your full time employees, a PEO offers the following areas of support, all necessary when employing an intern within your organization:
Finding the right candidate: Many employers think of interns as young adults or college students, but older workers may be just as qualified as, or even more qualified than, other applicants in satisfying an organization’s goals. A PEO is skilled at attracting and retaining the best fit for your organization.
Compliance: There are numerous legal issues associated with employing interns and employers should be careful not to violate state or federal laws. A PEO assumes this risk and is knowledgeable and up-to-date on all compliance issues including age limitations, child labor standards, discrimination, wages, and more.
Communications & HR Role: A PEO, assumes and manages critical HR management and employment-related responsibilities including employee administration. A PEO pays close attention to drafting policies and procedures regarding the internship, and may be able to provide training and development resources as it relates to the specific job.
Payroll, Wage and Overtime: As mentioned above, employers should be wary of state and federal laws on minimum wage and overtime. A PEO is up to date on compliance, and can also manage your new intern’s payroll or direct deposit, just as they do for your employees.
Do you have a good, strong, PEO on your side? If so, rest assured that your internship program will go seamlessly according to plan. With a PEO managing all of your HR administration and employee management, you have nothing to lose. Hire away; interns are of great value to an organization and can even become future full time employees!