Paid vs. Unpaid Internships
The University of St. Thomas strongly recommends that all employers pay their interns, if possible. Not only will this result in greater numbers of applications, but paid internships generally receive a higher level of commitment from the intern. If you do select to host unpaid interns, it is important to be providing a substantial educational experience (See Characteristics of a Quality, World Class Internship), and be aware of legal standards.
For information about Federal laws regarding the difference between unpaid interns (considered "volunteers or trainees") and paid employees, see the U.S. Department of Labor, Fair Labor Standards Act. If there are still concerns, it is recommended that you consult with legal counsel and/or professional accountants about this issue.
Free online tool that helps employers simply and quickly determine which of the Department Of Labor’s major employment laws apply to their business or organization
Resources for Employers