Bringing on summer interns is a great way for an organization to get help and mentor a student with a passion for the industry. It may also let managers take that much needed vacation. One consideration that companies don’t realize is that summer interns need to be paid a fair hourly wage according to federal and state payroll tax guidelines. Basically, interns must be treated as employees and added to a company’s full time staff payroll. You can’t get something for nothing.
Even when organizations realize that they have to pay to play, they still hesitate to use summer interns because they must now officially hire the employee and add to 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 strategy to remove the employer and employee relationship is to refer the summer interns to an employment agency that specializes in third party payroll solutions. With this practice, the summer interns can still be on boarded, but they become 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 become 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 is aware of the 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 financially solvent. After all, the employment agency is extending payroll on your company’s behalf. They are required to pay the employee on a weekly payroll cycle no matter what happens. Also, inquire about the employment agency’s employee benefits offerings. Health benefits and 401(k) retirement plans will increase summer intern retention if applicable. Some employment agencies offer a 401(k) employer match. A great way to retain interns.
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?