Working as an intern in California is a great way to get ahead in your field, but it can be confusing to know exactly how much you should be paid and what rights you have. The good news is that internships are covered by California labor law, which provides protections for interns who fall under “exempt” categories such as those who perform work primarily for the benefit of their company rather than themselves.
In this article we’ll explain how much you should be paid as an intern in California, including minimum wage requirements and overtime rules along with a few exceptions.
Interns in California have some of the highest wages in the nation.
Interns in California make a median wage of $1,025 per month.
The average intern salary in America is $1,108 per month.
Interns working in California are paid more than the average for their profession, but they still make below the national average for all occupations.
Minimum wage in California is currently $11 per hour, and will increase to $15 per hour by January of 2023.
- The minimum wage in California is currently $11 per hour, and will increase to $15 per hour by January of 2023.
- The minimum wage is the lowest amount that an employer can pay an employee for a certain time period. It does not include benefits like health insurance or retirement funds.
Exemptions to the overtime rule include interns who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
There are a few exemptions to the overtime rule. Interns who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement are exempt from overtime pay if the agreement is in writing, signed by both the employer and union, and has been filed with the California Department of Industrial Relations. An example of such an agreement would be between a university and its students’ union.
An internship is unpaid unless it meets very specific rules.
- The internship must be similar to training that would be given in an educational environment;
- The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of his or her period of internships (i.e., there is no guarantee that he or she will receive a job offer);
- A description of things an employee can do, such as work duties, working hours, etc., should be included in your agreement with each participant so they know exactly what they are signing up for when they take part in your program.
There are few exceptions to these rules; nurses and certain agricultural workers may be exempt from overtime laws.
There are few exceptions to these rules; nurses and certain agricultural workers may be exempt from overtime laws. The exceptions are listed in the California Labor Code, but they are not applicable to most internships. If you are an intern or a worker in the state of California and think that your employer has violated labor laws, contact an employment law attorney for a free consultation today!
The main rules are that they must be primarily beneficial to the intern and not just benefit the company.
It’s important to note that the main rules are that they must be primarily beneficial to the intern and not just benefit the company.
For example, if an intern is doing work that would otherwise be done by an employee or contractor of the company, this usually isn’t considered a legal internship. If an intern is mostly being trained and supervised by other employees or contractors, they’re probably also not getting paid in accordance with labor laws.
Interns in California are entitled to rest breaks, lunch periods, workers compensation, and all other rights granted by the California Labor Code, with some exceptions.
The California Labor Code requires that interns be paid at least minimum wage and receive overtime pay, but it does not require rest breaks or lunch periods. Additionally, some exceptions to these requirements are made for interns who work in the entertainment industry or for public agencies. For example, if an internship is part of a vocational program at a public high school or community college, then its duration must be limited to two weeks and cannot exceed 480 hours per year.
If you’re working for a private company in the entertainment industry and are expected to perform duties related to your job as well as attend meetings and other professional development activities outside of normal working hours without additional compensation, then you may qualify for another special exemption from California overtime laws under Section 515(h) of Title 29 (the Fair Labor Standards Act).
In addition to receiving fair wages according to state law, California-based interns also have rights granted by federal law such as workers compensation coverage and protection against discrimination based on race/ethnicity/national origin/sex/disability etcetera.”
They must receive at least minimum wage for their work hours (unless they are volunteers), and if they work more than 8 hours in one day or 40 hours per week, they must receive overtime pay set at 1.5 times their regular rate of pay.
Overtime is calculated by taking the total number of hours worked in a week and then dividing it by 40. Any hours over 40 are considered overtime, and must be paid at 1.5 times their regular rate of pay.
There are a few exceptions to this rule:
- Employees who are exempt from minimum wage laws (like executives) are not eligible for overtime pay as long as they make enough money to make up for any lost wages due to their exemption status.
- If an employee is salaried (salary = $60k per year), their employer isn’t required to track their time spent working on various projects or tasks—they just have to be sure that the employee’s salary meets or exceeds minimum wage requirements. This means that if an employee works overtime above 40 hours per week without being compensated for it, he has no legal recourse against his employer because technically speaking he’s covered under California law by being paid “at least” $60k annually regardless of how many hours he actually worked on any given day/weekend/holiday etcetera ad infinitum(!)
Interns in California, with a few exceptions outlined by statute or through a collective bargaining agreement, have all the same rights as regular employees under California labor law.
When it comes to interns, California labor law is not much different from other states. Interns in California, with a few exceptions outlined by statute or through a collective bargaining agreement, have all the same rights as regular employees under California labor law.
In this post we will focus on minimum wage and overtime pay for interns.
The exceptions don’t apply to most internships
The exceptions don’t apply to most internships. The exceptions are rare, and they only apply when:
- The internship is performed for credit in a formal course of study and the student-intern is performing duties similar to those of an employee (see page 3 of the Labor Standards Enforcement poster).
- The internship program is operated by a nonprofit organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) or (c)(4), or by a governmental entity or instrumentality. In addition, you must receive a statement from the employer that shows the name and address of the nonprofit organization or governmental entity and its determination letter from IRS stating it’s tax-exempt status as described above. If you’re not sure if your employer has filed this notice with DFEH before providing your records, ask them for proof! They should be able to provide it quickly via email if possible because we need both copies (original + fax) for our records.
We hope this article has given you a better understanding of what’s required for an intern to be classified as exempt from overtime work. If you’re unsure about your specific situation, or if your situation does not meet the criteria in this article, please contact our office.