If you have a backlog of projects piling up because there just aren’t enough hours in the day, you may consider hiring interns to help you get caught up. This can be a great idea that provides benefits for your company and the students.
However, if you want help from interns, don’t expect to get it for free. The requirements for unpaid internships are strict. In recent years, there’s been a wave of legal actions taken by those who’ve served as interns. They’ve accused employers of violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or state laws by not paying them.
The Department of Labor (DOL) has a six-factor test that you can use to determine whether a relationship with a worker could qualify as an unpaid internship. Keep in mind that this is a test, not a law. But don’t take it lightly — or you risk the possibility of incurring a fine or other legal action.