It is in the best interest of all organizations and companies planning to hire interns to be informed of all applicable federal and state legal requirements. For your benefit, Pratt Institute has provided the following summary of labor laws pertaining to intern hiring practices. If you have any questions regarding internships, please email

For your benefit, Pratt Institute has provided the following summary of labor laws pertaining to intern hiring practices.

How the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will affect your internship opportunity and your organization

  • The FLSA applies primarily to for-profit, private sector internships and training programs that are unpaid. Companies and organizations that fit this description must either pay interns or offer clear structure for the experience to be centered on the education of the student with learning goals and outcomes.
  • Students at Pratt can both be paid and receive academic credit. Credit for internships is elective at Pratt Institute, which means that enrolling for credit is an individual student's choice.
  • An internship cannot require or depend on the use of an intern's personal equipment or software (i.e. sewing machines, Adobe Creative Suite, laptops, Pratt Institute facilities, etc.).
  • To be considered a paid internship, a stipend or scholarship in lieu of payment must be the equivalent of minimum hourly wage. If the scholarship or stipend does not meet this minimum requirement the internship is considered unpaid.
  • Interns must be supervised by an industry professional at the internship site (i.e. if you are hiring a graphic design intern, then a professional graphic designer on staff must oversee and guide the intern's learning process).

Workers' Compensation

Internship sites are advised to enroll all interns, regardless of pay, on their Workers' Compensation coverage. Employers are required by New York State to provide Workers' Compensation insurance coverage for interns, both paid and unpaid. Workers' Compensation laws vary from state to state. Therefore, you should contact your local Worker's Compensation Office to find out how to enroll for coverage. Once you have enrolled for coverage, you can begin to add interns as they are hired.

  • New York Manhattan Office: 800.877.1373
  • Brooklyn Office: 800.877.1373
  • Pennsylvania Office: 717.783.5421
  • New Jersey Office: 609.292.2515
  • Connecticut Office: 860.566.4154

Intellectual Property

Please be considerate of your intern's intellectual property rights. We discourage the commercial use of students' art work without the transfer of rights and remuneration.


Paid interns (meeting the minimum wage compensation for the state) are considered employees for purposes of federal discrimination laws. An employer should assume that its paid interns are employees and comply with applicable discrimination statutes. It is sound practice to ensure that all interns, paid or unpaid, are treated fairly and in accordance with discrimination laws.

Recommended Resources

  • National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)
  • Fair Labor Standards Act Handbooks for States, Local Governments, and Schools
  • Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act