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HR Question of the Week – September 15, 2015

Question:

We are planning to bring in some unpaid interns. Do we need to get them to complete the I-9 forms?

Answer:

According to the Department of Homeland Security, I-9 forms are only required for employees and not unpaid interns. When you take on an unpaid intern, we encourage employers to take extra care. The US Department of Labor provides us with clear guidelines as to what makes an unpaid intern, and if the conditions are not met, the intern is considered an employee and has to be paid at least minimum wage plus overtime as well as complete the I-9 form.

These conditions have to be met to properly classify a worker as an unpaid intern:

  1. The training the intern receives is similar to what they have learned in a vocational school or academic institution
  2. The training is the intern’s benefit
  3. The intern does not take the place of regular employees, but the intern works under their close supervision
  4. The employer takes no direct advantage from the work of the intern and on a few occasions business operations may even be affected
  5. The intern is not promised a job at the end of the training
  6. Both the employer and intern are aware that the intern is not entitled to have wages during the training period.

As long as these conditions are met, there is no need for the unpaid intern to complete the I-9 form.

Source: HR Support Center | Copyright © 2017 AdvaPay Systems, LLC

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