Written by: Christine V. Walters, JD, MAS, SHRM-SCP, SPHR , FiveL Company
Since 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has used a six-factor test to determine whether an unpaid intern, working for a private sector, for profit employer can be properly classified as an unpaid intern. Not surprisingly, perhaps federal courts have failed to follow that test, finding it too rigid and inflexible. On January 5th, the DOL issued a Field Assistance Bulletin announcing that it was rescinding Fact Sheet #71 published in April 2010. DOL will now follow a 7-factor test that focuses on who is the primary beneficiary of the internship. If it is the student, then working unpaid is permissible; if it is the employer who benefits most, the internship should be paid. The DOL describes this new test as more flexible. WOW!