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Internships: employer's obligations

Verified 03 June 2021 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Labour

Employers in the private, public or non-profit sector are subject to regulations for the reception of trainees. It concerns in particular the conditions of appeal, the maximum duration of the internship, the compulsory remuneration, the signature of an agreement, the maximum number of internships in progress, the period between 2 internships. The trainee is not considered an employee, but he or she must comply with the rules of his or her host institution (hours and legal duration of work).

Training

The course must be integrated into a training course with a minimum teaching volume of 200 hours per year of instruction. A minimum of 50 hours must be dispensed in the presence of the student.

Internships outside the educational curriculum, i.e. not enrolled in a school or university curriculum, are prohibited.

An intern is not considered an employee.

The employer does not have to Pre-Employment Declaration (EPAD). However, it must mention in a specific part of single staff register, in the order of arrival, the name and first name of the trainees who are welcomed to the establishment.

Trainees shall not be assigned tasks that are dangerous to their health or safety.

Permitted

The internship is a temporary placement in the professional environment of the student.

It allows him to acquire the professional skills related to his training.

The tasks assigned to the course must be in line with the educational project of the educational institution.

Prohibited

A student internship cannot be offered for the following missions:

  • Replace an employee in the event of absence, suspension of employment or dismissal
  • Perform a regular task corresponding to a permanent workstation (the trainee does not have a production obligation like an employee)
  • Respond to temporary growth in activity
  • Seasonal employment

Internships outside the educational curriculum, i.e. not enrolled in a school or university curriculum, are prohibited.

Company of less than 20 employees

Companies with less than 20 employees can accommodate 3 maximum trainees at the same time.

Each tutor follows a maximum of 3 trainees during the same period.

Company of at least 20 employees

In a host organisation of at least 20 employees, the number of trainees whose internship agreement is in progress during the same period calendar cannot exceed 15% staff.

Example :

A company of 45 employees can accommodate up to 7 trainees (45 x 15% = 6.75). The headcount is rounded up.

Each tutor follows a maximum of 3 trainees during the same period.

FYI  

in companies with a maximum of 30 employees, the number of trainees may not exceed 20% staff. These companies cannot accommodate more than 5 trainees at the same time.

The duration of the course or courses carried out in the professional environment is 6 months maximum per host organisation and year of instruction.

This duration shall be determined taking into account the actual presence of the trainee in the host organisation as follows:

  • 7 hours of attendance, consecutive or not, equivalent to one day
  • 22 days of attendance equivalent to 1 month

Therefore, the duration of 6 months of internship is reached once the trainee has completed, during the year of teaching, 924 hours of effective presence in the host body.

Please note

if the trainee is hired, within 3 months after the end of the training period, the duration of the training period shall be deducted from the test period and for the calculation of the rights linked to seniority.

The employer must respect a waiting period between 2 courses: 1/3 of the duration of the previous internship.

Example :

After a 6-month internship, he is required to wait 2 months (6/3) before welcoming a new intern to the same position.

This obligation does not apply if the trainee breaks the internship himself.

The trainee must sign an internship agreement. It defines the skills to be acquired or developed during the course and how this time fits into the training curriculum.

The courses must be conducted under an agreement signed between the various parties:

  • Trainee (or, if he is a minor, his legal representative)
  • Host organisation (company, public administration, territorial authority, health institution, association or other organisation)
  • Educational or training establishments
  • Referring teacher within the educational institution
  • Internship tutor in the host organisation

The Convention must include the following:

  • Full title of the trainee's curriculum or training and its hourly volume per year or semester of instruction
  • Activities entrusted to the trainee
  • Reference teacher and guardian names
  • Start and end dates of the internship and maximum weekly duration of attendance of the intern
  • Absence permit conditions
  • The hourly rate of the reward, calculated on the basis of the actual presence of the trainee, and the conditions for payment
  • Potential benefits for the trainee (e.g. catering, accommodation or reimbursement of expenses)
  • Social protection scheme for trainees, in particular in the event of an accident at work

The employer must keep up to date the list of internship agreements concluded and enter the names and first names of the trainees accepted in a specific part of the single staff register.

The labour inspector may request a copy of the work placement agreements from the educational institution or the host organisation.

If the internship takes place at the foreigner, an information sheet setting out the host country's regulations on the rights and duties of the intern must be annexed to the internship agreement.

Payment Terms

One minimum reward shall be paid if the duration of the internship exceeds:

  • Either 2 consecutive months (equivalent to 44 days to 7 hours per day) in the same academic year
  • Either from 309e hour even if it is carried out non-continuously

Below these time limits, the host organisation does not have to pay a bonus.

If the hourly amount of the reward is less than €3.9, the trainee is exempt from social security contributions.

Amount

The amount paid by the host organisation shall be:

  • Either by branch agreement or by extended professional agreement
  • Either by regulation. In this case, the minimum amount varies according to the date of signature of the internship agreement

The minimum amount paid for each hour of actual attendance shall be €3.9.

A calculation simulator is available:

Calculation of a trainee's minimum reward

This minimum amount is paid in the absence of a branch agreement or an extended professional agreement.

Payment

The reward is paid at the end of each month and not at the end of the internship. It is due onto day of internship, not from the threshold of the 2 months of internship.

Example for a full-time internship (7 hours per day) of the 1to January to March 31, 2021:

  • January: 140 hours completed (20 days x 7 hours)
  • February: 140 hours completed (20 days x 7 hours)
  • March: 161 hours worked (23 days x 7 hours)

The amount of the total gratuity due is 441 hourseither €1,719.90.

The reward can be paid in 2 ways:

  • or based on the actual number of hours worked per month,
  • or by smoothing by month all hours worked during the course
Comparison of 2 remittance methods

Period

Actual Hours

Smoothing

(=€1,719.90/3

January

€546.00

€573.30

February

€546.00

€573.30

March

€627.90

€573.30

Total

€1,719.90

€1,719.90

Any temporary interruption of the training period shall be adjusted on the basis of the actual number of hours worked.

All traineeships that have been permanently interrupted shall be subject to a global adjustment according to the number of hours completed.

At the end of the internship, the host organisation must provide the trainee with a certificate of internship.

It shall indicate the total effective duration of the training and, if necessary, the total amount of the bonus paid.

Training Attestation Template

Where the internship lasts more than 2 months, the internship agreement shall provide for the possibility of leave and leave. If the internship lasts a maximum of 2 months, it is not mandatory to plan holidays.

Leave pay is optional.

In the case of maternity, paternity or adoption, the trainee shall be granted leave and leave of absence for a period equivalent to that for employees.

During maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or other leave authorisations provided for in the agreement, the maintenance of the gratuity is not compulsory (it is calculated on the number of hours of actual attendance).

The trainee may benefit from certain employee rights and benefits (access to social and cultural activities offered by the Social and Economic Committee - CSE, for example).

Reimbursement of fees should not be included in the monthly fee: these allowances must be paid in addition.

Meal

The trainee must have access to the company restaurant or restaurant titles under the same conditions as employees.

Such benefits in kind shall be exempt from social security contributions for the employer provided that the employer's contribution is between 50% and 60% of the nominal value of the security and does not exceed €5.55 by 2020.

Freight

The employer shall reimburse a share of the transportation costs incurred by the trainee under the same conditions as reimbursement to employees.

In the event of non-compliance with the rules governing traineeships (e.g. maximum quota of trainees, maximum working time, prohibition on entrusting trainees with dangerous tasks, compulsory appointment of a guardian), the employer shall be liable to an administrative fine of:

  • up to €2,000 per trainee concerned
  • up to €4 000 in the case of a new offence within one year of notification of theere fine

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