Utilizing summer interns can be a creative tool for an organization to maintain office productivity and let you take that much needed vacation. One consideration that many companies don’t realize is that summer interns need to be paid a fair hourly wage according to federal and state payroll tax guidelines. In other words, interns must be added to a company’s full time staff payroll. You can’t get something for nothing.
Even when companies acknowledge that they have to pay to play, they still hesitate to use summer interns because they must now officially add the workers to the company’s full time staff payroll. This reality can frustrate the CFO and Human Resources department due to the fact that summer interns who are directly employed will add to the overall company’s headcount. The employment of interns can also complicate monthly full time employee (FTE) census reports. The impact could cost throw off discrimination testing for retirement plans, add additional payroll processing costs, and simply just increase employee risks and exposure with regards to workers compensation insurance premiums.
A popular tool to alleviate such employer risks is to offload or outsource the summer interns to an employment agency that specializes in third party payroll solutions. With this remedy, the summer interns can still be retained, but the summer intern now becomes the employee of the employment agency. The employee or intern is simply transferred to the employment agency and the agency takes on the official employer of record. The employment agency will also engage as the W-2 employer and deduct state and federal taxes as well as insure the employee (workers compensation and professional liability).
A responsible third party payroll solutions firm will understand compliance issues, co-employment loopholes, workers compensation insurance risks, and payroll laws. When selecting a third party payroll solutions partner, select a provider that is financial solvent. After all, the employment agency is extending payroll on your company’s behalf. Also, inquire about the employment agency’s employee benefits offerings. Health benefits and 401(k) retirement plans will increase summer intern retention if applicable.
Overall, summer interns are a great way to maintain succession planning and office productivity. An easy way to get the payroll process going smoothly and quickly is to partner with an employment agency that specializes in third party payroll solutions. Why not let your trusted payroll specialist and advisor handle the compliance?