This Intern Agreement (CA) sets forth the parameters of an unpaid internship. It addresses the criteria that employers must satisfy to ensure that unpaid interns are not classified as employees (and therefore entitled to compensation). An internship is primarily for learning purposes, whereas employment is primarily to provide work and value to the employer.
This document's language has been customized to comply with California and federal law and is intended for use by private employers.
This Intern Agreement can be customized to ensure your interns are treated fairly and allows you to include information about compensation, duties, confidentiality and termination.
Other names for Intern Agreement include:
- Internship Agreement.
- Internship Contract.
What’s the difference between an intern and an employee?
An internship is an unpaid temporary position with an emphasis on training and work experience. An employee works for the business on either a full-time, part-time, casual or contract basis and is paid for their work.
Do interns need to be paid?
Pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer must pay an intern at least the minimum wage and overtime premiums unless the intern is not an "employee" within the meaning of the FLSA. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals adopted the “primary beneficiary” test, also known as the “non-exhaustive set of considerations” test, to determine whether an intern is an employee for purposes of the FLSA in Benjamin v. B & H Educ., 877 F.3d 1139 (9th Cir. 2017). The non-exhaustive set of considerations under the primary beneficiary test includes, but is not limited to, the following:
The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation (any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee).
The extent to which the internship provides training similar to that the intern would receive in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training educational institutions provide.
The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern's formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern's academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
The extent to which the internship's duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
The extent to which the intern's work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job when the internship ends.
Regarding interns in California, the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement’s (DLSE) Enforcement Policies and Interpretation Manual § 43.6.8 provides that students who perform work in the course of their studies, as part of the curriculum, are not employees if they receive no remuneration or credit toward school fees.