Inside: The Hot New Wage & Hour Issue: Unpaid Internships

November 11, 2013Articles Inside Counsel

Background

For centuries, the young worker learned the skills of his or her trade by apprenticing with a master craftsman, often as little more than an unpaid, indentured servant. Of course, both indentured servitude in general and unpaid employment in particular are now relics of another time, but the concept of employing students is a familiar one. What had been less familiar, but has become increasingly so, is the continued willingness of employers to provide a students with a practical working experience but not to pay for the work. That is, the widespread growth of the so-called “unpaid internship.” This, in turn, has led to a marked increase in litigation claiming that such interns are statutory employees entitled to minimum wage and overtime compensation. This article will address that trend.

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