HR Question of the Week – September 15, 2015


We are planning to bring on some unpaid interns. Do we need to have them complete I-9 forms?


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

The conditions that must be met to properly classify a worker as an unpaid intern are as follows:

  1. The training the intern receives is similar to what one learns in a vocational school or academic institution
  2. The training is for the benefit of the intern
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, rather the intern works under their close supervision
  4. The employer derives no immediate advantage from the work of the intern and on occasion business operations may actually be impeded
  5. The intern is not promised a job at the end of the training
  6. The employer and intern both understand the intern is not entitled to wages for the training period.

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

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

Want more great content like this?

Get the latest trends and compliance updates to keep you on top of HR and payroll, from AdvaPay Systems. In our newsletter email, you'll get a recap of what is going on in employee management, what trends are important for hiring, plus some fun stuff too. Sign up to check it out!