HR Connection blog

How to create an Internship Program that is HR compliant

Posted by Raquel DeSouza | Feb 15, 2017 4:21:50 PM


Let's be frank, managing interns can feel like you're a babysitter. Maybe you experienced the issue yourself or heard compliants from Human Resources colleagues. But believe me that the constant questions and the confusion over filling out orientation paperwork could slow down the efficiency of your HR team.

Committing to not only creating, but running an HR compliant internship takes some homework. Take notes on our tips below.

How to Establish an Internship Program

Before you start screening and interviewing intern candidates, it’s essential to have all of your program ducks in a row. In general, employers need to understand that this is could be an intern's first "real job" and they will need training as to what this means in terms of understanding your company values and company culture.

This means deciding on the policies listed and having them all in writing:

  • Defined job responsibilities
  • Work hours and break times
  • Internship length
  • Pay rate
  • Dress code
  • Social media usage and practices

It’s also a good idea to consider giving interns a synopsis of the employee handbook. Make sure each time an “employee” is referred to in the text, it is changed to say “intern.” By crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s with these specifics, it’ll make the program run much more smoothly. For more tips on internship development, read our Internship Program Do’s and Don’ts blog


Steps to employment law compliance

>> Stay in touch: Even if it’s a 10-minute conversation every two weeks either in person or on the phone with the intern to see how their experience is so far.

>> Have the internship benefit the intern, not the employer: Interns should be getting "KSA’s", or knowledge, skills and abilities from the program that they can put on their resumes. Remember, students take on internships in the hopes of having the experience help them land a job farther down the road.

>> Outsource your internship program to an Employer of Record vendor: The third party Employer of Record (EoR) handles employer responsibilities such as processing payroll, applicable federal, state, and local withholding taxes, unemployment taxes, social security, state disability insurance and all other payroll charges. The EoR helps maintain labor law compliance, perform applicable HR functions, unemployment insurance claims, and health benefits if required. 


Benefits of an outsourced Employer of Record service

This helps organizations relieve the administrative burden and mitigate business risk by relying on a certified payroll practitioner with the internship's HR functions, all to keep you more productive and profitable. 

It also strengthens the effectiveness of the internship program. This is accomplished with a structured onboarding program (sometimes completed 100 percent online), periodic check in's and exit surveys. Exit interviews help employers learn things that they may not have been aware of that they could improve for a strong workplace culture.


Ready to make or revamp your company's Internship Program? Checks and Balances, Inc. has a customized Internship Payrolling Solution to navigate federal regulations and employer laws in all 50 states.


Learn More


Topics: Blogs, Original Content, Pay-rolling, employer of record, interns

Written by Raquel DeSouza

Raquel DeSouza is the Marketing and Communication Specialist at EE, Inc.

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