Interns should be paid at least minimum wage, say MEPs

The European Parliament’s employment and social affairs committee (EMPL) today adopted a report on quality traineeships that sets binding standards for the protection of the rights of trainees across the EU.

The report, which was adopted with an overwhelming majority, recognises the important role that traineeships play in facilitating the transition from education to work and proposes measures to minimise the risks of exploitative and low-quality traineeships.

New data from the Eurobarometer shows that more than 52 per cent of respondents had to undertake more than one traineeship before securing a permanent job. This demonstrates how employers exploit young people who already have work experience to replace entry-level jobs with cheaper traineeships.

The report calls for a Directive that would establish minimum standards for traineeships across the EU, including:

  • Fair remuneration in line with minimum wage
  • Social security coverage
  • Clear training and learning objectives

The report also emphasises the need to ensure that traineeships are accessible to all young people, regardless of their socio-economic background. The Plenary vote on the report of Rapporteur Semedo is expected in June.
European Trade Union Confederation Confederal Secretary Ludovic Voet said:
"Traineeships must be fair and transparent, but most importantly they must be for everyone, which means they need to be paid in line with the minimum wage so trainees can make ends meet.

“Today was an important milestone in the journey towards fair internships started a decade ago by trade unions and youth organisations.

“Parliament has sent a strong message that young people shouldn’t have to wait any longer for their rights to be enforced.

“We now urge the Commission to make fair traineeships a reality by working with unions to draw up a directive which ends the exploitation of young people across Europe.”