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The Department of Labor has six specific and hard-to-meet criteria for when an employee can be classified as an unpaid intern. If the position doesn’t satisfy all six, the worker must be classified as a paid intern (or simply an employee). Before advertising for or hiring an unpaid intern, ensure the following:

  1. The internship 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 the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern (on occasion its operations may actually be impeded);
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job after the internship; and

The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

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