QUALITY INTERNSHIPS: OVERVIEW
Internships and apprenticeships can be a valuable step in the transition from education to professional life. However, the lack of clear quality guidelines undermines the main purpose of internships and apprenticeships as educational opportunities that give practical skills to young people. Internships today are increasingly offering little educational value and instead replacing real jobs, with none of the security and value of a real job. We work with different stakeholders, trade unions, companies, and institutions, to ensure that quality internships will become a reality for all young Europeans. Based on the European Quality Charter for Internships and Apprenticeships, we urge all providers of internships and apprenticeships to commit to quality standards and to apply a clear and coherent code of conduct, leading by example, in order to end the use of young European’s as a cheap labour force.
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We urge all the providers of internships and apprenticeships to commit to quality standards and to apply a clear and coherent code of conduct, leading by example.
We urge European countries, European institutions and social partners to commit to establish (or where applicable reinforce already existing) legal quality frameworks for internships and apprenticeships.
We call on internship and apprenticeship providers and public decision makers to adopt a system of certification and to ensure the recognition of the knowledge and skills acquired though internships and apprenticeships. Implementation of this Charter does not constitute valid grounds to reduce the general level of protection afforded at national level.
We are convinced that internships and apprenticeships should be primarily a learning experience and believe that:
We believe that internships (as part of higher education) and apprenticeships should meet the following criteria:
We believe that internships taking place outside/after formal education should ideally not exist however where they exist they should meet the following criteria:
We urge the competent stakeholders to progressively develop the following support and monitoring policies for a better implementation of quality internships:
Download and read the Charter in different languages:
MEP Martin SCHULZ (S&D, Germany)
MEP Eider GARDIAZABAL RUBIAL, (S&D, Spain)
MEP Jutta STEINRUCK, (S&D, Germany)
MEP Jan Philipp ALBRECHT (Greens/EFA, Germany)
MEP Evelyn REGNER, (S&D, Austria)
MEP Sergio GUTIÉRREZ PRIETO, (S&D, Spain)
MEP Gabriele ZIMMER, (GUE/NGL, Germany)
MEP Karima DELLI (Greens/EFA, France)
MEP Marian HARKIN (ALDE, Ireland)
MEP Anneli JAATTEENMAKI (ALDE, Finland)
MEP Iliana IOTOVA (S&D, Bulgaria)
MEP Heinz K. BECKER (EPP, Austria)
MEP Ole CHRISTENSEN (S&D, Denmark)
MEP Pervenche BERÈS (S&D, France)
MEP Kostas Chrysogonos (GUE, Greece)
MEP Nessa Childers (S&D, Ireland)
MEP Krystyna Lybacka (S&D, Poland)
MEP Tanja Fajon (S&D, Slovenia)
MEP Romana Tomc (EPP, Slovenia)
MEP Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE, France)
MEP Fernando Maura Barandiaran (ALDE, Spain)
MEP Milan Zver (EPP, Slovenia)
MEP Agnes Jongerius (S&D, Netherlands)
MEP Virginie Rozière (S&D, France)
MEP Brando Benifei (S&D, Italy)
MEP Jude Kirton-Darling (S&D, UK)
MEP Enrique Calvet Chambon (ALDE, Spain)
MEP Renate Weber (ALDE, Romania)
MEP Terry Reintke (Greens/EFA, Germany)
MEP Jytte Guteland (S&D, Sweden)
MEP Marita Ulvskog (S&D, Sweden)
MEP Olle Ludvigsson (S&D, Sweden)
MEP Jens Nilsson (S&D, Sweden)
MEP Anna Hedh (S&D, Sweden)
National legislation on internships across Europe varies largely. Some countries have very strict labour laws that govern internships, whilst others do not even have a legal definition of what an internship is. The Youth Forum is mapping interns’ rights in Europe with the help of its Member Organisations. If your organisation would like to contribute, please email: email@example.com.
Student-intern (no legal definition)
The Student placement must be considered a learning period. Indeed, as part of her/his training, the student-trainee is in the workplace and participates in the work process, but the work is only “average” meaning that it is just in order to learn. The student intern is not in a working relationship with the host organisation. The contract of placement student is not an employment contract and the student intern will receive for the work carried out neither remuneration or compensation.
Intern under Convention d’immersion professionnelle
The professional immersion convention is defined by section 104 of the Programme Law of 2 August 2002 as an agreement by which a person, called the intern as part of his training, gain knowledge and skills through services worked with an employer.
There is a specific coverage for young workers that concerns their protection in terms of working time, working rules and wellbeing.
Intern under Convention d’immersion professionnelle
In the case of internship under professional agreement there are legal requirements for remuneration
Student-intern no legal requiremetns for payment or reimbursement.
Intern under Convention d’immersion professionnelle
In the case of internship under professional agreement there is since 2013 a contribution to the social security.
La plupart des stagiaires est engagé-e-s comme un-e employé-e avec un contrat. Il y a aussi de stagiaires traité-e-s comme des bénévoles non payé-e-s.
Si on a fait un contrat, la loi de travail est valide en général, p.e. vacances, droits. Mais il n’y a pas de règles spécifiques.
En Suisse il n’y pas de salaire minimal, donc chaque employeur peut fixer le salaire qui veut – aussi pour un stagiaire.
Il y a les deux:
Le stagiaire est sous la loi de travail en général si il a un contrat de travail.
Professional internships consist of practical training in a working environment which is intended to complement and enhance the skills of the trainee, aiming to their integration or converting into the working life at a faster and easier pace, or to obtain a technical, professional and deontological training, legally required to enter a given profession.
Curricular internships are an integral part of a given academic training, and to be held, there must be an agreement between the Educational Institution and Employer Entity. In the academic curricula, curricular internships have certain duration and only those that are mandatory in order to obtain an academic degree are considered.
General labour law is not applicable to any kind of internship.
Professional Internships: regulated by Decree-Law n. º 66/2011 and Decree n. º 20-A/2014, Jan. 30, amending Ordinance no. º 204-B/2013 of 18 June, as amended by Ordinance No. º 375/2013 of 27 December and Order no. º 1573-B/2014, Jan. 30.
Curriculum internships: There are no laws or ordinances regulating Curriculum Internships
Companies and other institutions can apply through the Portuguese Employment and Training Institute for paid internships.
Professional Internships: there is a specific internship agreement.
Curriculum internships: there must be an agreement between the educational institution and the employer.
Professional internships: There are legal provisions on the duration of an internship, namely that they have duration of 12 months and cannot be extended, without prejudice to the projects of strategic interest.
Professional internships: the employers pays the trainee a monthly allowance, whose value cannot be less than that corresponding to the social support index value.
Companies and other institutions can apply through the Portuguese Employment and Training Institute to fund paid professional internships.
Curriculum Internships: There is no law foreseeing compensation for curriculum internships
Professional internships: the provisions relating to contributions to social security are in place for professional internships
Curriculum Internships: there are no social security provisions in place for curriculum internships
Professional internships: The employer must designate an internship supervisor, who cannot keep more than three trainees. The tutoring consists of:
MONITORING, ASSESSMENT, CONTROL
Internships may be subject to actions for monitoring, evaluation, audit or inspection to be made by the Portuguese Institute for Employment and Training and by competent national and European authorities and other bodies and entities accredited for that purpose;
These actions are intended to ensure compliance with applicable standards and can comprehend financial, accounting, factual and technical aspects of the projects, ie the physical and financial verification, either by administrative components either at the facilities of the internship, or even towards the entities holding the original technical-pedagogical process through, inter alia, of visits;
To this end, the promoters are required to provide all factual, technical and accounting documents required and to provide access to its facilities and / or the venues of the internship;
Even for monitoring purposes, the intern will be reporting online on the implementation of the internship plan by the procuring entity.
Interns may present formal complaints about internships through the Office of Vocational Training and ultimately through the Ombudsman.
There is no legal definition of internship in UK law.
What does internship mean in the UK?
A period of work-place experience undertaken by a recent graduate who, on entering the job market, wishes to gain practical experience in order to join a profession or to work in a particular sector.
A period of work-place experience undertaken as part of a university or other post-school educational course is usually termed a “work placement”.
A period of work-place experience that forms part of the training process for joining a profession or for entering a specific job role is normally described as “professional training”.
In UK law, an intern may fall into the following four categories:
On the basis of the above tests, most interns are classified as workers.
Fewer interns will qualify as employees and fewer still will fall into the category of self-employed.
Depending on the circumstances (ie. whether the individual is enrolled on a qualifying course of study etc), an intern may be classified as a student.
An intern’s classification as a worker, employee, self-employed or non-worker will determine to which of the rights they are eligible.
National Minimum Wage: A worker has the right to receive the NMW. Most interns, therefore, should receive the NMW.
Some people are, however, exempt from the right to receive the NMW. Among those who are exempt are volunteers. The word volunteer in this context has a specific legal definition (ie. not the general meaning given above): a volunteer is defined as someone who is working for a charity or other voluntary organisation. It follows from the above that an intern working for a charity or similar body does not have the right to receive the minimum wage.
Other rights for a worker: An intern classified as a worker will enjoy other rights. For example, the right to unpaid leave and the right to the protection of the EU’s Working Time Regulation.
Non-workers enjoy some very basic rights such as those related to health and safety and non-discrimination.
Best practice also provides for various extra rights for non-workers/volunteers. For example that they should have their expenses paid and that a fair recruitment process should be used.
The area of UK law known as the Tort of Negligence (“Negligence Law”) may also be relevant. A volunteer may try to use Negligence Law to sue an organisation. In order to successfully sue an organisation using Negligence Law, the volunteer will need, inter alia, to convince a court that he/she has suffered harm and that the organisation caused the harm through its negligence.
An intern who is also a student intern will generally benefit from the normal rights enjoyed by other students.
An individual undertaking a “work placement” of up to one year is usually exempt from paying local authority tax, like a normal student.
Check if you are a worker during your internship with the Worker’s Checklist here – and if so, ensure you are receiving the minimum wage you are legally entitled to!
There is no specific intern contract as such.
If an intern qualifies as a worker, a contract is deemed to exist (even if the contract is not in writing) and the normal law of contract will apply.
Certain standard contractual terms are likely to appear in most contracts between interns and organisations.
Standardised contracts may exist for “work placements”/”professional training” in specific sectors. In the legal profession, for example, the relevant regulatory body publishes a standard contract for trainees.
It is best practice that an organisation should enter into an “internship agreement” with an intern.
For complaints and control of internships, interns can contact the Pay and Work Rights Helpline, which is run by HM Revenue and Customs, the Government agency responsible for enforcing payment of the NMW.
Information on work experience opportunities
Organisations campaigning for interns rights
Interns can contact the Pay and Work Rights Helpline which is run by HM Revenue and Customs, the Government agency responsible for enforcing payment of the NMW.
 But note, the word volunteer has a specific legal meaning in the context of the UK’s legislation on the national minimum wage (referred to below) and certain other pieces of legislation.
An employee will enjoy more extensive rights than a worker (for example, not to be unfairly dismissed) but these are not discussed further.
 This does not include the protection provided by certain specific employment related provisions in the UK’s Equality Act.
Under the Employment Relationship Act (ZDR-1, article 120) and internship is defined as follows:
“An Act or branch collective agreement may stipulate that a person who starts to carry out work appropriate to the type and level of his professional education for the first time shall conclude an employment contract as a trainee in order to obtain qualifications for independent job performance within the employment relationship.”
There are three types of intern status in Slovenia.
‘Interns’: classed as employees.
‘Voluntary interns’: classed as workers with a voluntary internship agreement.
‘Student interns’: student status, not employee/worker
For INTERNS (ZDR-1, article 141)
Salary and reimbursement:
“(1) A trainee, a worker undergoing training or a worker undergoing job caching shall have the right to a basic salary in the amount of at least 70% of the basic salary a worker would receive at the workplace for the type of work for which he is being qualified.
(2) The salary of a trainee or worker undergoing training or a worker undergoing job caching may not be lower than the minimum wage laid down in an Act.”
The employer must also ensure the intern the reimbursement of expenses for meals during work, of expenses for travel to and from work, and of expenses incurred to the worker during the performance of certain works and tasks on business trips.
Social security derives from employment relations and provisions. Interns receiving salaries have social security ensured and paid by employer.
For VOLUNTARY INTERNS (ZDR-1, article 24)
Salary and reimbursement:
The employer must ensure the voluntary intern reimbursement only of expenses for meals during work and expenses for travel to and from work.
Voluntary interns, as they do not receive salaries, do not have social security ensured and paid by the employer.
For INTERNS: they have a simple labour contract with certain specifics (ZDR-1, article 122, implementation of traineeship programme)
“(1) During the traineeship, the employer must provide the trainee with programme-based training to enable him to perform his work independently.
(2) The length and course of the traineeship and the programme, the mentorship, and the method of monitoring and evaluating the traineeship shall be laid down in an Act, another regulation or branch collective agreement.
(3) At the end of the traineeship, the trainee must pass an examination which is a constituent and the concluding part of the traineeship and shall be taken before the end of the traineeship period.”
(1) The traineeship may not last longer than one year unless otherwise stipulated by an Act.
(2) The traineeship may be extended proportionally if the trainee works part-time, but for no more than six months.
(3) The length of the traineeship shall be extended for a period of justifiable absence from work which lasts longer than 20 working days, except for the period of annual leave.
(4) The length of the traineeship may be reduced on the proposal of the mentor, but only by up to one half of the initially determined length.”e
Exceptions to this:
Law students: The State Legal Exam Act, in article 2, sets the duration of internship to 2 years but only in courts.
Medical students: The Medical Practitioners Act, sets the duration of internships to 6 months, for dentists to 1 year.
Teaching students: Under the Organization and Financing of Education Act, the duration of internships is set to 10 months for students who finished university, 8 months for those who finished college and 6 months for those who finished high school.
Social workers: As defined in Rules on the Internships and Professional Examinations for the Work in the Field of Social Assistance and set to max. of 1 year (min. 9 months).
SPAIN – CATALUNYA
There are two types of recognised internships for young people 1) Educative internships, 2) Labour internships.
1.1. Curricular internships: These are included as academic activities within the studies plan of each degree. They are equivalent to other subjects undertaken during the degree, and can be compulsory or optional. As a consequence, students may register as if these internships were a subject, may have an internship advisor and may receive a mark for their overall performance during the internship period.
1.2. Extracurricular internships: Students may voluntarily undertake extracurricular internships throughout their studies. In contrast to curricular internships, extracurricular ones are neither included in the studies plan nor in the academic reports of the student. However, extracurricular internships are included in the European Supplement to their degree title.
Internship agreements in the framework of the university are signed between educative centres and companies, and regulate the working conditions of the students. These agreements do not establish any labour relation, and that is why these usually do not include remuneration (or if so, it is a reduced amount of money, which cannot compare to an ordinary paid job).
Internship contracts, which regulate a labour relation which aims at acquiring professional experience mean that labour law is applicable to interns under this contract.
An internship usually lasts between 6 months and 2 years. An extension may be agreed twice at most. However, these provisions may vary depending on the collective agreements reached for each sector and if the worker has disabilities.
Educational internships: Education internship agreements do not establish any labour relation, and that is why employers are not legally bound to pay students.
Labour internships: For labour internships, if there are no legal provisions in the collective agreement, an intern may earn, at least, the 60% (during the first year) and the 75% (during the second) of the wage established in the agreement for a worker who carries out an equivalent job. Under no circumstances can the remuneration be lower than the minimum interprofessional wage. Once the internship contract is over, the worker will not be eligible to claim for compensation.
Labour interns do contribute to the Social Security system, and their contribution includes the unemployment benefit contribution. There are also other aspects covered, such as injuries, illnesses or accidents occurred throughout the performance of the job, health assistance, common illnesses, non-labour accidents and maternity, pension grants and economic compensations for temporary impairment due to common risks.
Once the internship is over, the employer has to deliver a certificate where the length, job position and main tasks carried out are specified.
Labour Offices advise for free with regards to any question related to legal or labour aspect, union or social security details of the internship. If the worker wants to undertake legal action, trade unions and youth associations may support him or her.
Il n’existe pas réellement une législation du stage. Le stage nécessite la signature d’une convention ou d’un contrat entre l’étudiant, l’entreprise et éventuellement l’établissement de formation.
On distingue une convention de stage au Luxembourg quand le stage s’inscrit dans un cursus d’études, et un contrat de stage quand celui-ci est volontaire non inscrit dans un cursus d’études.
Le stagiaire n’a pas le statut de salarié du fait de l’absence de contrat de travail. Il conserve son statut d’étudiant. L’entreprise ne peut conclure de convention de stage pour remplacer un salarié permanent.
il n’existe pas de cadre qui définirait les tâches, rémunérations, durée (en dehors de celle appliqué pour les mineurs) des stagiaires. Le déroulement de ces stages dépend de la bonne volonté de l’employeur.
Pour être considéré comme travail éducatif, les stages doivent :
– Avoir un caractère d’information ou d’orientation ;
– Ne peut affecter l’étudiant ou l’élève à des tâches requérant un rendement comparable à celui d’un travail normal.
Le stagiaire sera soumis à la durée légale du travail prévu par le code du travail luxembourgeois, c.à.d. 8 heures par jour et 40 heures par semaine. Il ne pourra pas prétendre ni aux heures supplémentaires, ni au repos compensateur de travail.
Il existe deux types de contrats pour les stagiaires :
1) Une convention de stage pour les stages prévu dans le cadre du cursus scolaire (stage obligatoire)
2) Un contrat de stage pour les stages non encadré pour une institution scolaire (stage volontaire)
Un contrat de stage n’est pas assimilé à un contrat de travail.
Il n’y a pas de limitation légale de la durée du stage mais les cotisations sociales et les impôts sont calculés différemment en fonction de la durée. (+ ou – de 3 mois).
Afin de prétendre à un salaire social minimum, il faut que le salarié ait signé un contrat de travail. Tenant compte qu’un contrat de stage ou convention de stage n’est pas assimilé à un contrat de travail, les stagiaires n’ont pas le droit au salaire social minimum (obligatoire au Luxembourg entant que salarié).
La rémunération des stagiaires n’est donc pas obligatoire et elle est à l’entière discrétion de l’employeur. Il n’existe pas de minimum légal en matière de rémunération pour les stagiaires.
Il appartient à l’employeur de vérifier la couverture sociale du stagiaire contre le risque accident. Le stagiaire qui ne bénéficie pas d’une couverture contre le risque d’accident est alors assimilé à un salarié. L’employeur doit donc obligatoirement affilier le stagiaire à toutes les branches de la sécurité sociale en faisant une déclaration d’entrée auprès du Centre commun de la sécurité sociale.
Pour un stagiaire effectuant un stage dans le cadre de ses études (stage obligatoire) les indemnités allouées durant la période de stage sont dispensés de la retenu d’impôts.
Pour un stagiaire effectuant un stage hors du cadre de ses études (stage volontaire), l’employeur est tenu d’appliquer la retenue d’impôts sur la rémunération allouée.
Dans le cadre d’un stage obligatoire, le stagiaire pourrait se plaindre à son responsable au sein de son lycée ou si c’est un non-respect des législations nationales il peut se plaindre aux institutions publiques et privées existantes et prévues à cet effet.
En ce qui concerne les stagiaires effectuant un stage volontaire, ils peuvent se plaindre à toutes les institutions publiques et privées existantes et prévues à cet effet. (Exemple : Inspection du travail et des mines ; syndicats, mobbing asbl…etc)
Il est cependant important de souligner qu’il n’existe pas d’endroit spécifique ou les stagiaires peuvent se plaindre.