Congress Considers Paying Its Interns

Sept. 5, 2018, 9:57 PM

Capitol Hill interns may soon start getting paid.

A Congress appropriations bill (H.R. 5895) being ironed out by a conference committee would provide $8.8 million in pay for House interns, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said today. The measure also includes another $5 million for interns working in the Senate.

“While there is no doubt that interns gain valuable professional experience, I have heard the frustration and stories from interns who are struggling to pay for housing, meals, and transportation while interning without pay on Capitol Hill,” Ryan said in a statement. “It is far past time they are compensated for all their hard work.”

Capitol Hill internships are largely unpaid positions. Ryan and other supporters of the funding move say that makes it difficult for many students and younger workers to take the temporary jobs.

Federal law generally requires businesses to pay interns if the employer, not the intern, is the “primary beneficiary” of the work. Courts look at a number of factors to make that determination, including whether the work is something that would otherwise be done by a paid employee and whether the position offers training similar to that found in schools.

The appropriations measure would set aside the funds for fiscal year 2019, which starts Oct. 1.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bloomberglaw.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bloomberglaw.com

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