Special Employment Considerations for Non-Profit Organizations

Non-profit organizations will run into many of the same employment issues as for profit organizations. However, there is one issue that non-profits will encounter more frequently than its for profit brethren – Volunteers.

The payment of volunteers and interns is governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA provides regulations governing who must be paid the federal minimum wage. For a volunteer position to be exempt from the federal minimum wage and overtime requirements, the following six criteria must be met:

  • The training must be similar to training that would be given in a vocational school or academic institution
  • The training must be for the benefit of the student interns
  • The student interns must not displace regular employees and must be closely supervised
  • The employer must derive no immediate advantage from the activities of the student interns, and on occasion, the employer’s operations must actually be impeded by the internship
  • The student interns are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of their internship
  • The employer and the student interns understand that the student interns are not entitled to wages during the internship

If all 6 of the criteria are satisfied, then the volunteer/intern is exempt from application of the FLSA requirements and the employer would not be required by federal law to pay minimum wage.

Note that if your non-profit organization is a charitable organization, the employment of volunteer interns without an expectation of compensation is generally acceptable.

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