The US Department of Labor issued a fact sheet
in 2010 to help employers determine when interns
must be paid minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The fact sheet describes six criteria that must be applied when determining whether an internship is exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements.
- The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment.
- The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern.
- The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff.
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded.
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.
- The employer and intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) has a FAQ Web site regarding student intern and trainee programs. BOLI also offers seminars and online workbooks about wage and hour laws and regulations.
Can a volunteer be used as an intern?
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, employees may not volunteer services to for-profit private
For more information, including guidelines for
non-profits and public agencies that wish to use volunteers, consult
the US Bureau of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor on volunteers. One resource for non-profits is the Non-Profit Risk Management Center, which published an article on employees versus volunteers.
Tips for successful internship programs
Existing farm internship programs
Rogue Farm Corps and Zenger Farm both operate farm internship programs in Oregon.
Looking for an internship opportunity? You may also want to consider out-of-state or international internships or apprenticeships. The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service maintains a database of farm internship and apprenticeship opportunities.
Photo courtesy of Oregon State University Small Farms Program.