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Payroll Today

My trip to the dentist (and what this has to do with the FLSA)

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Over the years, my dentist and I have come to a pleasant entente—we chat cordially, I don’t ever see any of those medieval instruments he uses and I get almost as much sedation as I want. For his part, he gets a much more relaxed patient who is not likely to bite him. Everyone wins!

So the last time I was there, it surprised me that he had a shadow—a college student who wants to become a dentist. My dentist’s shadow was not an intern; she sat quietly and performed no productive work. But many interns do, and that brings up the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which sets the rules for paying (or not paying) interns.

Testing intern status

This is prime time for interns. That wide-eyed and eager stranger you see wandering around the office may very well be a summer intern. The Department of Labor (DOL) has a longstanding test to determine whether unpaid trainees are, instead, employees who need to be paid:

1. Internships are si...(register to read more)

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