Internship Wages

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Internship Wages

I recently got an internship position. I signed a contract promising 17.2 hours at a certain hourly pay. After starting my first week, I was notified that I would work 40 hours but only be paid the 17.2. Doing the math with the full-time work week and partial pay results to only 8 per hour, far below the legal minimum per hour. Is this legal to do?

Asked on June 14, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is most likely not legal. The only time interns may be paid less than minimum is when the "employer" is essentially functioning as a training program for them: the intern is closely supervised, is learning a trade or skill, the training benefits the employee, the employer does not immediately benefit from providing the internship (i.e. it's not a way to get a "cut-rate" employee). Otherwise, if the intern is essentially doing what a "regular" employee might and the employer is essentially saving on having to hire another "regular" employee by having an intern, the intern IS an employee and must be paid at least minimum wage.


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