Topic of the Week Intern Worker Classifications
As an employee, the rights that you are entitled to depend heavily on what type of employee you are. Different classifications of workers are entitled to different things. It is important to know what type of worker you are so that you can best understand and protect your rights.
1. What is the difference between getting paid wages and receiving a stipend from my employer?
Stipends, which are typically paid to an individual to help cover housing and other living expenses, may only be paid to non-employees. Conversely, a wage may only be paid to employees. If your internship or fellowship satisfies the “primary beneficiary” test by primarily benefiting you, rather than the employer, you may receive a stipend. However, if the internship or fellowship provides more of a benefit to the employer, then you may be considered an employee who is entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay.
2. As an intern, am I covered by worker’s compensation?
It depends. If you are an intern providing non-manual services to a charitable, religious, educational, or other such organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Tax Code, you are exempt from mandatory coverage. However, interns working for these organizations may still volunteer for coverage.
3. What is the difference between an internship and an externship?
Generally, externships provide academic credit for their externs, while internships provide experience. However, the title of the experience is less relevant to courts than what the experience entails when courts are determining whether the internship/externship should be paid or not.
Thought of the Week
"An April 2020 survey of college students by College Reaction found more than one-third, 38%, saw their internships or post-graduate jobs canceled. Whatever the reasoning behind them, internship cancellations had a "super harmful" financial impact on those who graduated last spring."
–Ryan Golden | HR Dive
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Facts on U.S. Internships
- 57% of interns are paid
- 43% of interns are unpaid
- Students who complete internships are 15% less likely to be unemployed after college
- Women make up 75.5% of those participating in unpaid internships