Provided by:  Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.

July 28, 2022



Thank you for Tuesday's answer.  I had a similar thought as Dr. J; what if I call form an internship for training?  Can it be unpaid?  I do not see why I should pay someone for time I am training them when the practice is not financially benefitting?  Actually I am losing money, and then they quit.   

Dr. F


It's complicated; at least in NY...   There are many guidelines and regulations in New York regarding internships that make classifying a trainee as an intern nearly impossible, such as -

  • The trainees or students may not necessarily be entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period and are free to take jobs elsewhere in the same field.
  • The training must be similar to training provided in an educational program, which is satisfied if the interns learn skills they can use elsewhere.
  • The training must be for the benefit of the intern, demonstrated by the employer receiving no benefit from their work.
  • The intern may not displace regular employees and must work under close supervision, meaning that the intern cannot replace staff and will not be considered an intern if staff would need to be hired to replace them.
  • The activities of trainees or students may not provide an immediate advantage to the employer.
  • The trainees must be notified in writing that they will not receive wages and are not considered employees for minimum wage purposes.
  • Any clinical training must be performed under the supervision and direction of people who are knowledgeable and experienced in the activity.
  • The interns may not receive employee benefits such as health insurance.
  • The training must not be specific to the employer and the operations of the business, meaning that it must be general and qualify the intern to work in a similar business.
  • The training must not be designed specifically for a job with the employer.
  • The screening process for hiring interns must not be the same as for hiring employees and it cannot appear to be for that purpose.
  • The screening may only use criteria relevant for admission to an independent educational program and the search for interns must be completely separate from the search for employees.
  • Any advertisements or postings for the program must clearly discuss education or training, rather than employment, although employers may indicate that qualified graduates may be considered for employment.

Creating a qualifying program that will pass muster requires policy and procedure development and proper administration.  Happy to help, but you may prefer to pass...