Mr CEO I heard you found a source for cheap labor, not so fast

Almost every college career services department in the country pushes
to area employers the benefits of using their internship program. On
the first look it is a no brainer for the corporation. They get added
manpower during heavy workload times and they can usually get it without
any financial impact on the corporation. For the student it provides
them with some work experience in the real world and exposure to varying
industries from which they can plan out their career.

some organizations have chosen to take advantage of the concept in
order to reduce headcount expenses. Ever hear of these scenarios:

  • HR
    and/or the hiring manager interviews a prospective candidate and
    suggests in order to view their work ethics would the candidate be
    willing to work on a project with no compensation.
  • A school
    wanting to screen a prospective teacher asks them to cover a class for a
    couple of days as part of the evaluation process at no pay.

concept sounds good but based on complaints the U.S. Department of
Labor has said wait not so fast. It is entirely possible that your great
thoughts might be a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In order
to be sure that your organization is on safe grounds when using an
individual as an intern, the DOL says the following conditions must be
in place.

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

the concept of having an intern within your organization is appealing,
the motivation behind the use of an intern is heavy with risk for the
organization. As a human resource professional it is your responsibility
to ensure that the use of interns within the organization is not
abused. It is the role of HR to foresee the potential improper use of
human capital assets as interns. Failure to do so can mean that the
financial impact on the corporation can outweigh the benefit of their
use. Be sure to check with your corporate employment counsel to make
sure that all the criteria are properly met.

So Mr. CEO you may
have found that source for cheap labor, jut don’t jump the gun before
you make sure that the corporation has evaluated the risk of bringing on
an intern and not in violation of the FLSA. It is for your ability to
sleep at night to ensure that t is done right.

Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. assists organization’s with the creation of empowered change strategies which are customer centric, organizationally aligned and quality based in your organization.


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