Unpaid Internships

As you evaluate an internship opportunity, you should be aware that the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division developed a six-factor test for determining whether workers are to be considered “interns” or “employees” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The guidelines below will help you determine if the position can be considered an unpaid internship. All criteria must be satisfied for the position to be unpaid.

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in an educational environment.
  2. The internship is for the benefit of the intern.
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close observation of existing staff.
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded.
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the completion of the internship.
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

View Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act published by the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division for more details.

UMBC’s Career Center is committed to advocating for paid internships for students of all majors. There is no conflict of interest between students earning a salary and academic credit for internships.