Construction company interns are not employees. They aren’t volunteers. Even if their training and treatment may be exactly as your company culture dictates, liability and legalities are not the same, so it’s important to understand internship labor laws.
Construction companies especially can use unpaid internships to increase the company talent pool and that’s okay. Even better, most interns will finish school and return to your company for employment.
This can decrease:
- Hiring and onboarding time/expenses
- New-hire training
- Project delays due to worker shortage
7 Rules for Construction Company Internships
Construction company internships are not the same as apprenticeships which can last years. The intern may join you for one week or longer and may return every 3 months. Internships target undergraduate students and teach specific skills while providing work experience.
Most interns seek training and experience in:
- Civil engineering
- Construction management
- Sustainable construction
Here are 7 rules to follow for your internship program:
- Company-sponsored internships do not qualify for school credits.
- Employer internships must deliver benefits commensurate with the amount of benefits you receive. The amount of learning/training time must be equal to the amount of time the intern spends working.
- If the internship is unpaid, be upfront about it. Never hint there may be financial compensation of any kind. If you do, you may be legally bound to pay the intern wages.
- If you choose to pay the intern, the average construction intern wage is $19/hour.
- If the unpaid intern is injured on your property, the injury is your responsibility. If the internship is school-affiliated, the injury is the school’s responsibility.
- If there’s a labor dispute between an intern and a construction company, Fair Labor Standards Act guidelines will be followed. The court will determine the “primary beneficiary” of the internship; the employer or intern.
- If the employer was the primary beneficiary, the intern will be awarded employee compensation and benefits.
- Interns don’t receive vacation time/employee benefits.
- School-sponsored internships require your internship program to meet class or program objectives. Record-keeping is important, especially if the internship offers academic credit.
The construction industry needs an influx of creativity and new employees with new ideas. Today’s internship investment can lead to profits tomorrow.
Construction Monitor subscriptions are another investment that can lead to greater profits. To find out more, contact us.