When a young person is breaking into the Florida workforce, they may consider taking on an internship to help gain necessary experience. However, internships are at times unpaid, and it is coming into question more and more often if not paying interns is just. If individuals believe that their duties are befitting those of an employee who should receive at least minimum wage for their work, they may wish to file wage claims in order to receive compensation.
There are many laws in place that address the payment of employees. Interns and trainees are listed under positions that do not require payment. However, there are several criteria that must be met in order for individuals to truly fall under these positions. To name a few qualifications, the internship should be beneficial for the intern, the individual should not be replacing another employee, and an employer should not directly gain an advantage from the activities of the intern. An intern should also be made aware the position is unpaid.
If individuals do not meet these criteria and are still unpaid, they could potentially have reason to file a claim. Being unpaid for work done is a very serious matter if an individual should be considered an employee and not simply an intern or trainee. Therefore, employers should be certain to understand how their workers are categorized.
Though an individual may only desire to earn experience from their internships, it is important that they also understand how they are categorized and whether their position meets the requirements. If they do not meet those qualifications and have not been paid for their work, wage claims could potentially help those parties gain their rightfully earned pay. Information on internships and payment in Florida could help concerned parties better understand their situations.
Source: Orlando Business Journal, "Defining internships: The difference between interns and trainees", Jeffrey Mandel, July 4, 2014