Internships as a key to enter the job market

MB – 08/2023

The European Commission has launched consultations on strengthening the EU Quality Framework for Internships on 11 July 2023. The social partners now have the opportunity to delineate their positions until mid-September 2023.

The background is, among other things a resolution of the European Parliament of 14 June 2023, about which the German Social Insurance (DSV) has already informed in June 2023.


Why a European quality framework?

By promoting internships, young people are to be given opportunities to enter the labour market. This is not new. In Germany, work placements during the school years have already existed for decades. However, the financial and economic crisis of 2008 and 2009 had led to enormously high youth unemployment within the European Union (EU), so that a need for action was seen to ensure that young people could find an entry into the job market after completing their school education. The need for action was also seen against the background of the Member States’ target of an employment rate of 75 per cent for women and men aged 20-64 as part of the Europe 2020 strategy.In the meantime, this has even been raised to 78 per cent by 2030.

Therefore, a corresponding European quality framework was laid down after a process from 2011 to 2014, with the Council Recommendation of 10.3.2014. The guidelines are intended to ensure sound learning content and appropriate working conditions. This includes, among other things, the conclusion of a written internship agreement, which shall specify all essential internship contents (goals, working conditions, duration, etc.). The Council Recommendation also aims to increase the share of internships offered abroad so that labour mobility in the single market is promoted at an early stage.

Need for adaptation

At the beginning of 2023, the European Commission - as already reported - analysed the European quality framework and considers an adaptation especially in the European Year of Competences 2023 necessary as it is again a matter of promoting career opportunities for young people. But the European Parliament wants to go one step further. It presupposes that the recommendation becomes a guideline for high-quality internships. It has therefore already added a corresponding proposal to its Resolution of 14 June 2023.

Social security for interns

The previous recommendation lays down as so-called "transparency requirements" that internship providers should, among other things, already inform in the advertisement whether the interns receive remuneration or an expense allowance and whether health and accident insurance is provided. 

In its draft directive, the Parliament demands in the "quality criteria" that interns have a legal right to remuneration in accordance with the Directive (EU) 2022/2041 i.e. that they should receive the minimum wage. Consequently, this also entails access to the social security system, which is why, according to Parliament's conception, coverage in health, unemployment and pension insurance should be provided in accordance with national legislation. Accident insurance cover should also be associated with this.