Oddly, the song that played in my head as I type the post title was Styx’ “Too Much Time on My Hands” and that does not fit at all! Too much time though has passed since I last posted here. Our other social media and day-to-day work has just taken all that time. *
I don’t know about you, but on/near my birthday I have a tendency to reflect. Not in a morbid or morose way, just in a “hmmm, where am I, where am I going, what are my current goals/dreams and where I am in meeting those I’ve held previously” way. Tomorrow is my birthday and though I’m not anywhere close to social security age, but the information below from Hawkins, Ash CPAs caught my eye and actually made me chuckle due to the timing.
Good Friday afternoon everyone! Hope this week has treated you well.
Today I bring you my promised post from last week’s De Pere at Dawn. Getting the video parsed down and uploaded was a process. *long process*. Unfortunately, we don’t have the full segment from Daren Allen, the final presenter because there was a video failure. We had part of it, but decided not to post only that segment since it was jarring.
I will post this with each presenter’s identifying information and a link to their PowerPoint presentation as well as the video link at YouTube (except for Daren). In a future post, I will link to an upcoming edition of Wisconsin Eye featuring a town hall with J.P. Wieski that will have the most current information.
Summary statement? Wow was it a great great panel. ”Best ever” in the words of one of our guests. With no further ado:
Introduction section (Cheryl Detrick, President/CEO De Pere Area Chamber)
Overview from the State perspective (J.P. Wieski, Legislative Liaison/Public Information Officer from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, State of Wisconsin)
Overview from business organization perspective (Lori Compas, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Business Alliance)
More details, yet still overview from insurer in Health Insurance Marketplace (David Grunke, Manager Strategic Accounts, WPS Health Insurance/Arise Health Plan)
And, MORE details, overview from insurer, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative (Daren Allen, Vice President of Sales & Business Development for the Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative)
Long story short … on October 1st, go look. It will cost you nothing but a bit of time, may save you money and will satisfy your curiousity!
Yes, I hear the groaning. While the last several years have been punctuated by the “health care debate,” the rubber begins to hit the road over the next 7 months. Many of the components of the Affordable Care Act are already in place (timeline here) but in 2014 is the 800 pound gorilla – the arrival of the health care (insurance) exchanges for individuals. They will technically begin operation on October 1st of this year, according to www.healthaffairs.org: Starting in October 2013, people without access to coverage through an employer, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program will be able to purchase health plans through health insurance exchanges for coverage taking effect in 2014. These new marketplaces are one of the Affordable Care Act’s key mechanisms for expanding affordable coverage.
This Thursday, June 6th, I will be attending an educational session sponsored by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, “Preparing for the New Normal Part 2: Implementing the Affordable Care Act in Madison. If anyone would like to attend and carpool, please let me know. There is a $50 fee per attendee (link is the title), the ride will cost you nothing except 5 hours in the car with me!
However, according to an article in USA Today on May 30th, “Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have received HHS approval to create their own exchanges, and 15 states will work with HHS to run a marketplace, while the 19 remaining states will operate exchanges created for them by the federal government. Many states, particularly those with Republican legislatures and governors opposed to President Obama’s health care law, did not create exchanges.” (Wisconsin was one of the states to not create an exchange.) ”Beginning in October, individuals will be able to do a side-by-side comparison of plans either through online state or federal exchanges. Insurers will not be able to charge more for or exclude those who have pre-existing conditions.
Insurers have submitted proposed pricing and plans, and, in the states that have released that data, there is a large variety of pricing. California’s premiums came in 50% lower than what had been projected, and in Washington and Oregon, people will pay less for premiums on the individual market than they did before the law, also called the Affordable Care Act.”
While we don’t know what the exchange will look like in Wisconsin, there was an additional option in the legislation: healthcare cooperatives. The new cooperatives are an option that came out of the debate for “a public option” during the national discussion on this topic.
More from Healthaffairs.org: “The provision created what was originally a $6 billion federal fund–reduced by law in 2011 to $3.4 billion, and reduced again in January 2013 as described below–that would enable sponsoring organizations to apply for loans to create new health insurance cooperatives.
These nonprofit, consumer-driven organizations would offer health coverage–and possibly also care networks–through the exchanges under the same regulatory requirements imposed on private insurance companies at the state and federal level. The provision was incorporated into health reform legislation in the Senate, and became law when the Affordable Care Act was signed by President Barack Obama in March 2010. Under Section 1322 of the Affordable Care Act, CO-OPs will offer coverage through the exchanges primarily in the small-group market, which generally serves companies or organizations with fewer than 100 full-time employees, and in the individual market. Like other plans offered through the exchanges, CO-OPs must be ready for open enrollment beginning October 1, 2013. The law required the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to distribute funds to at least one CO-OP in each state. But because of the most recent funding cuts, no more new CO-OPs will be established beyond the 24 that have already been created, at least for now (Exhibit 1).”
Wisconsin got one of the loans. The Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, based in Milwaukee, will serve individuals and small employers in Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Milwaukee, Oconto, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Shawano, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, and Winnebago counties and any individual, non-profit or small business will become a member when they purchase health insurance through Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative.. There are, in fact, health care cooperatives already in Wisconsin, but this is not a purchasing cooperative, but rather an actual insurance company. In answer to the question, “why will this work when similar concepts have failed?” According to their website, “Unlike other initiatives for small employers and individuals, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will not be contracting with an existing for-profit health insurance company to buy insurance and create a purchasing pool. Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will be the insurance carrier and with its non-profit, member governed structure, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative will provide quality plans that are affordable, coordinated, and responsive. Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative leaders have a strong vision for improving the health of members and for controlling the health care costs of its members which are the key factors to control premiums.” Open enrollment will begin October 1, 2013 and coverage will become effective January 1, 2014. Enrollment will be continuous throughout the year so prospective members can enroll on January 1, 2014 or after. The cooperative has been and will be holding education seminars. The seminars are designed for individuals (under 65) without insurance, self-employed individuals, small business owners and nonprofit leaders. Topics for discussion include the new insurance marketplace (exchange), subsidies for purchasing insurance, the individual mandate and other important issues. Each seminar is identical.
I will be attending the June 12th session in Milwaukee and extend the same carpool offer as above. I can’t find a fee for the session and the ride with me would be no cost (other than 4 hours in the car with me!).
I will report back here on what I learn and my thoughts if you can’t attend yourself (or just can’t bear to!). Whether you plan to attend one of these sessions, or the one we will hold in the fall, I hope you will get yourself educated. This is vital to you individually, your family and your employees. Stay tuned…
During her training session at Path to Leadership in May, Cassie Schuh recommended several books for further research/study.
I forgot to list them in the post and wanted to make sure to get these out there!
Cassie referenced a few books that she recommended for our participants:
- The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership by James C. Hunter
- The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Imposter Syndrome and How to Thrive by Valerie Youn
- Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin – this one is “more about inspiring people to lead rather than leadership itself”
She also shared that a good follow up to the “Secret Thoughts” book is Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
I’ve got these added to my summer reading list and would love to hear if you read them and what your thoughts are! I’m not suggesting a book club … but would be game if any one else is interested!
This week is Occupational Safety and Health Week here in North America and since many of you come to our blog by way of our Chamber website, we are mostly connected with safety and health via the workplace. Our Live Healthy Brown County newsletter will come out tomorrow, as it usually does, but this week it will include a new feature – volunteer opportunities. You may be thinking that is because I’m always looking for volunteers for lots of things. And, I do that, yes – but we are including it because volunteering is good for your health! I was always told it helping others is good for the soul, but I’m thrilled to find it is more than that.
A few bits of information on this topic:
- Improvement of cardiovascular health. Being a volunteer can lower your blood pressure and improve heart problems. One study, done by the University of Michigan Research Center, showed that volunteers with a history of heart problems had reduced chest pain and lower cholesterol levels compared with non-volunteers.
- Lower risk of death. Another study on older adults who volunteer regularly demonstrated that those who spend time volunteering may enjoy a longer lifespan.
- Better mental functioning. Concerned about preserving your brain power as you age? An increase in cognitive (mental) functioning is yet another potential benefit of volunteering.
- Overall mind and body improvement. Volunteers have been shown to have reduced anxiety and depression and an overall sense of well-being. Volunteers have also been found to recover more quickly from surgery, sleep better, and have healthier immune systems compared to people who do not volunteer.
Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health.
- Volunteering increases self-confidence. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
- Volunteering combats depression. Reducing the risk of depression is another important benefit of volunteering. A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times.
- Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Volunteering is good for your health at any age, but it’s especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.
The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research has found a significant connection between volunteering and good health.
The report shows that volunteers have greater longevity, higher functional ability, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease. The report is available by clicking here.
“Volunteering makes the heart grow stronger,” said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation. “More than 61 million Americans volunteer to improve conditions for people in need and to unselfishly give of themselves. While the motivation is altruistic, it is gratifying to learn that their efforts are returning considerable health benefits.”
The Health Benefits of Volunteering documents major findings from more than 30 rigorous and longitudinal studies that reviewed the relationship between health and volunteering, with particular emphasis on studies that seek to determine the causal connection between the two factors. The studies, which were controlled for other factors, found that volunteering leads to improved physical and mental health.
Research suggests that volunteering is particularly beneficial to the health of older adults and those serving 100 hours annually. According to the report:
- A study of adults age 65 and older found that the positive effect of volunteering on physical and mental health is due to the personal sense of accomplishment an individual gains from his or her volunteer activities.
- Another study found that volunteering led to lower rates of depression in individuals 65 and older.
- A Duke study found that individuals who volunteered after experiencing heart attacks reported reductions in despair and depression – two factors that that have been linked to mortality in post-coronary artery disease patients.
- An analysis of longitudinal data found that individuals over 70 who volunteered approximately 100 hours had less of a decline in self-reported health and functioning levels, experienced lower levels of depression, and had more longevity.
- Two studies found that volunteering threshold is about 100 hours per year, or about two hours a week. Individuals who reached the threshold enjoyed significant health benefits, although there were not additional benefits beyond the 100-hour mark.
“This is good news for people who volunteer,” said Robert Grimm, Director of the Corporation’s Office of Research and Policy Development and Senior Counselor to the CEO. “This research is particularly relevant to Baby Boomers, who are receiving as well as giving when they help others. Just two hours of volunteering a week can bring meaningful benefits to a person’s body and mind.”
Volunteering in America: 2007 State Trends and Rankings in Civic Life, a report that includes numerous measures on volunteering and civic engagement. The Health Benefits of Volunteering report builds on that by showing states with higher volunteer rates also have better health and that there is a significant statistical relationship between states with higher volunteer rates and lower incidents of mortality and heart disease.
“There is now a convergence of research leading to the conclusion that helping others makes people happier and healthier. So the word is out – it’s good to be good. Science increasingly says so,” said Dr. Stephen Post, a professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and co-author of the forthcoming book “Why Good Things Happen to Good People: The Exciting New Research That Proves the Link Between Doing Good and Living a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life.”
This follow-up report issued today brings more evidence that volunteering produces significant health benefits. Those who gave social support to others had lower rates of mortality than those who did not – even when controlling for socioeconomic status, education, marital status, age, gender, and ethnicity, the report stated.
So, look for the column tomorrow to find ways to volunteer and we will give you links for even more ways to volunteer. In fact, here is the link to the Volunteer Center of Brown County’s community database to search for more!
Almost Nuts! Crazy Snack Food is a company that has created a healthy snack based on Non-Genetically Modified Organism (non-GMO) soybeans.
The company began as organic grain farmers that had one bad year after dealing with poor weather and broken equipment. Finally, as farmer Darren was plowing his underdeveloped soybean crop back into the ground, an idea struck him. Dry Roast these beans! Running into the house with this new inspiration at 2AM he woke farmer Jennifer up and said “Hurry Jennifer, get up and cook these” to which farmer Jennifer said “You’re crazy, I’ll do it in the morning.” Needless to say, after much research and development they now have a wonderful product to eat.
“As farmers we had little training in the business world and have loved the learning process and development,” said Jennifer Kornowske, CEO of Almost Nuts! Crazy Snack Food. “We feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with the Packer Mentor Protégée Program, because it gave us a wonderful opportunity to better understand the finical side of a
company and how it should function at a larger level.”
When Jennifer and Darren first applied to the Green Bay Packer Protégé Mentor Program they were pumped up to participate and then felt honored that their little company was selected as a protégée. At the first meeting the mentor’s event they were able to interview so many great mentors, but when they got Lonnie Charles table they knew they had found their mentor.
Lonnie Charles works for DPACC member Wipfli LLP which is an accounting and business consulting firm headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and accounting and business is where the Kornowske’s needed the most help.
“I began to cry. I knew we needed his help desperately and was embarrassed and fearful of how needy we were in our financial department,” said Kornowske. “All of a sudden I was personally flooded with emotion because of how inadequate I felt in the accounting department.”
Through the next year Lonnie met with Darren and Jennifer every week, rarely missing an appointment. Lonnie’s calm and peaceful personality and his dedication helped Jennifer become comfortable and willing to get more involved in the accounting part of her company, Almost Nuts!.
“Now we are more organized, efficient, and accurate in so many areas of our company because of what Lonnie was able to teach us,” said Jennifer Kornowske. “I no longer cry in the face of paper work, tax season only took 30 minutes instead of 3 weeks, inventory is accurate, and sales are up.”
Jennifer and Darren Kornowske of Almost Nuts! Crazy Snack Foods are grateful to the help which the Green Bay Packer Protégé-Mentor Program has given them, especially the help given by their mentor Lonnie Charles.
“I believe it has been a successful tool for us and wish I could continue to participate in the Packer Mentor Protégée Program because it is a valuable tool for small companies to get information and hands on education from successful people that volunteer their service to improve Green Bay and the community one company at a time,” said Jennifer Kornowske.
“This program is so valuable and I hope it continues for a very long time.”
The Green Bay Packer Mentor- Protégé Program established in 2011 to pair emerging minority- and woman-owned companies (protégés) with established, knowledgeable, and committed companies (mentors) that can provide exposure, appropriate training, resources and experience not readily available to the protégé companies.
The Packers and AFF Research, LLC, administrators of the Mentor-Protégé Program, are committed to the continuing success of the program and to the community of businesses that benefit from it.
Byline: Claire Westlie, PR Intern DPACC
A few days ago, I was getting ready for my day and, as is my pattern, I turned on CNN. It was the top of the hour and the lead story was fronted by a split screen of Bahrain – burning in protest against their government – and the Rotunda in the Capital Building of Madison, Wisconsin, filled with protesters.
I was dumb-struck.
As *anyone* who has ever spent more than 180 seconds with me will tell you, THAT is not a common occurrence.
As a Chamber CEO, one of my chief responsibilities is working with our partners to bring new businesses, both expansions and relocations, as well as skilled professionals and workers to our area. We have some geographic issues that are stumbling blocks for some to even consider Northeastern Wisconsin. Namely, the weather, the weather and the weather. And, well, the cheesehead. I distinctly recall before I moved here a decade ago, during the year before we came, every person whom I told where we were going said to me, “you know it is cold there, right?” Keep in mind, I was living in Reno, at 4,500 feet above sea level and 30 minutes from Lake Tahoe, home of some of the best downhill snow-skiing on the planet! I wasn’t in Southern California for heaven’s sake!
I told them what I tell everyone – we chose Wisconsin because of their commitment to community, tradition and progressiveness; world class public education and the strong work ethic of Wisconsinites.
As I stood in disbelief, staring at my television screen, my thoughts were filled with those reasons I had told people. And I wondered where that Wisconsin had gone.
I’m a Political Scientist by training and avocation. I love politics. Yes, odd I know. But I love our system of government. It is all about compromise and finding the elements in any given issue that all sides can live with … not what they *want* … but what, at the end of the day, they can stomach. What I know and what history bears out is the following:
(Danger Will Robinson, idioms and idiomatic expressions are just ahead)
- You know you have good public policy when all sides leave the negotiating table a little ticked off but feeling like they can live with the decisions reached. These feelings mean there were no “winners” and no “losers” just people who compromised their wants for their needs all in the spirit of moving their organization, their community, their state, their nation, their people forward. Having said that, all sides will feel like they won and feel like they lost. Such is the nature of compromise.
- If one side is jubilant and another side is so angry they are beyond the capacity for rational thought, it is very clearly NOT good public policy.
- Good public policy is what we can expect and must demand from those we elect to represent us. NOT what we “want,” but good public policy. THAT is the heart of a representative democracy such as the one we were lucky enough to be handed by a group of wise and brave men in 1776.
- Good public policy ONLY happens after reasoned, thoughtful, intelligent and measured discussion and negotiation amongst all sides of an issue. *hint, there usually aren’t just two sides*
- Good public policy takes time to go through that process. Grandma was right, “haste makes waste” and “act in haste, repent in leisure.” We must demand our representatives take the time to get it right. It just too important.
- In Wisconsin, as in the country as a whole, I believe all people agree we have to make hard financial choices. I haven’t talked to anyone in the last week who doesn’t agree with that. Teachers, nurses, firefighters, police officers – everyone agrees that we are in difficult financial times and that everyone, public employee, private employee, everyone must share the pain to fix our financial house as a people.
- The devil is, as always, in the details.
Is our public financial house out of order in Wisconsin? Damned straight it is. It has been for the decade I’ve been here – and longer! I’ve listened to State Senator Rob Cowles rail about the structural deficit in our state budget since the day I met him in the later part of 2001. He was right then, he is right now. Yes. We absolutely must fix it. It can only be fixed however, by reasoned, thoughtful, intelligent and measured discussion and compromise between all sides. No quick fixes, no easy answers, no silver bullets. No answers that fix today by mortgaging tomorrow.
I call on all sides – the Governor, the Republican leadership in the Senate and the Assembly, the Democratic leadership in the Senate and the Assembly, WEAC & AFT (the teachers’ unions), Wisconsin Public Workers Union, AFL-CIO, AFSCME (state, county & municipal employees union), the Firefighters union(s), Police Officers union(s), Correctional Officers union(s) and any public collective bargaining units I’ve not specifically mentioned (no slight intended Ladies & Gentlemen, I assure you!!) to pull back, let everyone catch their breath and then get to the bargaining table. Work together in good faith.
Legislators, take a long look at all elements of the legislation, because there is a lot more there than just the public workers benefits and collective bargaining – the hole we are in is much deeper than that. Make sure you aren’t fixing today by mortgaging and raising costs for the taxpayers tomorrow. Be judicious. Be studied. Be cautious. Be open-minded. Get it right.
This is currently classified as a budget issue and the issues of collective bargaining in the aggregate are issues that are not budget issues. Pull those aside and let’s all get to addressing the immediate need of the State’s fiscal problem.
It is time to create good public policy. The fiscal situation of the state must be addressed and I believe everyone involved knows that and is willing to make concessions, give up what they want for what they (and we) need. To create GOOD public policy.
Let’s get Wisconsin known again for our strong sense of community and tradition. Our world class educational system. Our strong work ethic. Our ability to craft solutions that not only address our issues and needs, but also serve as a model for the rest of the nation. And yes, for Cheeseheads, beer and the 13 time World Champion Green Bay Packers. Please let those of us who are working to recruit companies and individuals to our great state sell those wonderful things and not have more mornings watching CNN like this last week.
Just, please, for God’s sake, get to working together so the beautiful & historic Rotunda of the Capital in Madison is never again split screen in comparison with a flaming Middle East. We deserve better.
If yes, then mark your calendar:
US 41 Project Business Group Meeting County G (Main Avenue) Interchange
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) invites you to attend a business group meeting for the County G (Main Avenue) Interchange.
BUSINESS GROUP MEETING
September 29, 2010 | 7 a.m. – 9 a.m.
St. Norbert College – F.K. Bemis International Center Room 20 (lower level) 299 Third Street, De Pere, WI (Parking available in Lot #14 located on Grant Street across from the Kress Inn)
Presentation at 7:15 a.m.
This meeting will present draft transportation management plans (TMP) that are being developed for the area including:
- Construction staging scenarios created for County G (Main Avenue) Interchange
- Alternative access routes
- Staging concepts and schedule for remainder of Orange to Glory segment including mainline US 41, Grant Street, and Glory Road
Transportation management plans are important because they determine how construction will be staged and what strategies are needed to keep traffic moving during the construction zone. This is an opportunity for you to provide input as WisDOT refines TMP plans for this area.
In addition to the business group meeting, project staff will be available to hold small group workshops with interested businesses to discuss specific issues. These meetings can be located at your business or at WisDOT offices and can be geared towards your specific questions.
If you would like to receive US 41 Project updates or notices of future meetings related to the County G Interchange via e-mail, please submit your e-mail address to Wendy Knaus at email@example.com.
If you have questions or would like to schedule a workshop, please contact one of the following WisDOT staff members:
US 41 Project Communication Manager (920) 492-4109 Kris.Schuller@dot.wi.gov
Project Manager (920) 492-4112 Chad.DeGrave@dot.wi.gov
If you would like would like information on the area road constructions projects, visit our website here. We keep this area update with news as soon as we know it!
Yeah! Our first episode of Chamber Chat is in the can. Or on the disc. I’ve got terminology to learn! But, it’s done.
Chamber Chat is a new and exciting program concept of all original content engaging businesses, visitors and communities across the State of Wisconsin to share old concepts, ideas and programs plus new ways of seeing old things. Each episode is 30 minutes long. Our YouTube account type only allows us to load 10 minutes per upload, so I broke this into segments of interviews and it ends up being 5 of them. They are embedded below.
Each month our program will focus on one of our programs, projects or events, but will also have guests & experts on to talk about the underlying principle or concept to give it both regional and statewide appeal. This program is created here in De Pere, but is certainly not just FOR De Pere. Each episode is 30 minutes long.
This first episode is about Sustainability and features guests from St. Norbert College, SEEDs for De Pere (our community sustainability initiative), Focus on Energy and an international business headquartered here, Megtec, Inc.
PLEASE NOTE: THE FINAL CLIP INCLUDES AN INCORRECT LINK: it should be www.dsireusa.org
If you like to see other videos from the Chamber about the community, our members and happenings – Visit our De Pere Chamber YouTube Channel here.
The Chamber often has interns “on staff” and they are often of great benefit to our mission. I’ve often encouraged members to work with the universities and colleges to give interns an opportunity to try their newly learned skills in the business world and encouraged students to use internships as a way to put those skills to use in the real world and also to build their resume.
It has come to our attention that there are rules for how interns must be handled relating to pay and college credit and we want to make sure businesses are aware of them. Apparently, these aren’t new rules, just rules that periodically come up for review and I wouldn’t want one of our members to get fined for something they were unaware they were in violation of!!
The bottom line, as it has been explained to us, is if you have interns in your company who aren’t being compensated and they are NOT receiving college credit for the internship – make sure you have a written agreement between you and the intern clearly delineating the arrangement and that all the tests below are met.
The “Fact Sheet” regarding internships:
Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act
This fact sheet provides general information to help determine whether interns must be paid the minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act for the services that they provide to “for-profit” private sector employers.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines the term “employ” very broadly as including to “suffer or permit to work.” Covered and non-exempt individuals who are “suffered or permitted” to work must be compensated under the law for the services they perform for an employer. Internships in the “for-profit” private sector will most often be viewed as employment, unless the test described below relating to trainees is met. Interns in the “for-profit” private sector who qualify as employees rather than trainees typically must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over forty in a workweek
The Test For Unpaid Interns
There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in “for-profit” private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation. The Supreme Court has held that the term “suffer or permit to work” cannot be interpreted so as to make a person whose work serves only his or her own interest an employee of another who provides aid or instruction. This may apply to interns who receive training for their own educational benefit if the training meets certain criteria. The determination of whether an internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of each such program.
The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:
- The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
- The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
- The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
- The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
If all of the factors listed above are met, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the intern. This exclusion from the definition of employment is necessarily quite narrow because the FLSA’s definition of “employ” is very broad. Some of the most commonly discussed factors for “for-profit” private sector internship programs are considered below.
Similar To An Education Environment And The Primary Beneficiary Of The Activity
In general, the more an internship program is structured around a classroom or academic experience as opposed to the employer’s actual operations, the more likely the internship will be viewed as an extension of the individual’s educational experience (this often occurs where a college or university exercises oversight over the internship program and provides educational credit). The more the internship provides the individual with skills that can be used in multiple employment settings, as opposed to skills particular to one employer’s operation, the more likely the intern would be viewed as receiving training. Under these circumstances the intern does not perform the routine work of the business on a regular and recurring basis, and the business is not dependent upon the work of the intern. On the other hand, if the interns are engaged in the operations of the employer or are performing productive work (for example, filing, performing other clerical work, or assisting customers), then the fact that they may be receiving some benefits in the form of a new skill or improved work habits will not exclude them from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements because the employer benefits from the interns’ work.
Displacement And Supervision Issues
If an employer uses interns as substitutes for regular workers or to augment its existing workforce during specific time periods, these interns should be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over forty in a workweek. If the employer would have hired additional employees or required existing staff to work additional hours had the interns not performed the work, then the interns will be viewed as employees and entitled compensation under the FLSA. Conversely, if the employer is providing job shadowing opportunities that allow an intern to learn certain functions under the close and constant supervision of regular employees, but the intern performs no or minimal work, the activity is more likely to be viewed as a bona fide education experience. On the other hand, if the intern receives the same level of supervision as the employer’s regular workforce, this would suggest an employment relationship, rather than training.
The internship should be of a fixed duration, established prior to the outset of the internship. Further, unpaid internships generally should not be used by the employer as a trial period for individuals seeking employment at the conclusion of the internship period. If an intern is placed with the employer for a trial period with the expectation that he or she will then be hired on a permanent basis, that individual generally would be considered an employee under the FLSA.