Nearly all internships must be paid. An employer cannot get around paying its workers minimum wage by calling the job an “internship.” Employers cannot label a job an “internship” to get free labor. If you are doing work that would normally be done by someone the employer would have to pay, you generally should be paid.
In Massachusetts, only charitable, educational, and religious institutions can use unpaid interns. Next, the internship program needs to be designed to train the intern. In determining if an internship should be paid, courts look at whether the training is similar to that which would be done in school; whether the internship is designed for the benefit of the intern, not the employer; whether the intern is doing work that would otherwise be done by a regular employee; and whether the employer is getting a benefit from the intern. Some internships done as part of a school co-op may be unpaid if the school requires internships. But simply because you may get school credit for an internship does not mean that the internship can be unpaid. If you worked as an unpaid intern, please contact us for a free consultation.