The Labor Department’s six criteria for a legal unpaid internship are:
- The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
- The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
- The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
- The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
Click here to read the Department of Labor's Fact Sheet #71 regarding private sector or "for-profit" entities. It's important to note that DOL has not issued criteria for public or non-profit sector internships.
Read more about internships and recent legal rulings in this Education Insider article.