Back to Basics – Unpaid Interns

Many of our clients ask about unpaid interns.  Assuming that your non profit organization is operating an internship program, there are some areas of insurance coverage that need to be considered.

1. Make sure that unpaid interns are insured for professional liability coverage if they providing a professional, educational or technical service to your organization.

2. Unpaid interns are usually not required to be covered under workers compensation if they meet the criteria of “Unpaid Interns”. Your attorney or HR administrator can best assess if workers compensation coverage should be purchased. Your organization should address the policy issue of how to address injured interns.  Many clients opt to purchase Accident Coverage for the unpaid interns. This coverage does not replace the benefits offered under workers compensation but does provide some basic medical coverage.  If you purchase accident coverage, make sure to purchase high enough limits to adequately protect the interns. Most accident policies are usually excess over any other valid health plan.

3. Make sure interns are adequately screened (fingerprinted) before interning for your organization. This is especially important if you want to keep or purchase Abuse and Molestation Coverage.

4. If the unpaid intern is given some “perks” (small scholarship, parking or meal allowance, expenses, etc.), discuss with your attorney whether the intern should be added to your workers’ compensation policy. There can be a  fine line between an unpaid intern and an employee with regard to California Workers’ Compensation Law.

5. Agreements with other institutions (i.e. university, high school, etc.) involving the “hiring” of interns needs to be reviewed for compliance issues.

Call us if we can be of assistance with your insurance needs. We are here to help.



* This is for educational purposes only. Consult your attorney with regard to employment or worker’s compensation law.