Labor Dept. Changes Course on Intern Wage-Hour Applicability

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By Ben Penn

The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division is revising its legal standard for determining when interns are subject to federal minimum wage and overtime laws.

Following the most recent appellate court rejection of the DOL’s previous six-part test, the agency will now conform to the “primary beneficiary” test that was already adopted by the Eleventh and Ninth circuits, the department announced Jan. 5.

The “primary beneficiary” test probes whether the business or the intern receives greater benefit from the internship by asking questions such as whether the experience is tied to a formal education program and whether the intern displaces paid employees.

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To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at

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