On June 22, 2015, Gov. Malloy signed Substitute SB No. 428 into law, creating Public Act 15-56. The law extends workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation protection already available to employees covered by the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act to unpaid interns.
The law defines “intern” as “an individual who performs work for an employer for the purpose of training,” and imposes specific conditions that must be satisfied before the position qualifies as an internship covered by the new law. Those requirements are:
The employer is not committed to hire the individual performing the work at the conclusion of the training period;The employer and the individual performing the work agree that the individual performing the work is not entitled to wages for the work performed; and,The work performedsupplements training given in an educational environment that may enhance the employability of the individual,provides experience for the benefit of the individual,does not displace any employee of the employer,is performed under the supervision of the employer or an employee of the employer, andprovides no immediate advantage to the employer providing the training and may occasionally impede the operations of the employer
If any of these criteria is not met, the individual is not an “intern” under the new statute.
While the new law does not require benefit coverage for an unpaid intern, it requires employers to review their practices relating to interns. Since the law also implicates non-benefits laws, such as employment and labor law, employers should work with outside counsel in ensuring compliance. The law is effective Oct. 1, 2015.
Public Act 15-56 »