The National Assembly in session. Photo: Richard Ying & Tangui Morlier for Wikimedia Commons.

The National Assembly in session. Photo: Richard Ying & Tangui Morlier for Wikimedia Commons.

The French National Assembly has acted on the issue of internships and voted in favor of a major reform formulated by the ruling Parti Socialiste on the status of interns. The vote occurred on the night of February 24 and received every vote from the Left majority.

The bill aims at guaranteeing a certain amount of equality between interns and other employees who are given similar workloads.

Interns will receive a status inside the company for which they work, which will result in more rights and protection against abuse. For example, employers will be unable to ask interns to work more time than other employees.

They will furthermore receive the same food and transport benefits as other employees. For internships lasting over two months, a minimum salary of 436 euros per month will be granted to interns on their first day. Members of the far left tried but failed to increase the amount of this compensation in the new bill.

On the other side, members of the UMP have long criticized the bill on the grounds that the new status would simply copy the one of employees and reduce the attraction of internships.

This situation is quite singular in France. Only students who are currently enrolled can apply for internships, leading to a gap between supply in the job market and the demand.

This bill is not the first attempt to regulate and combat the various degrees of abuse towards interns. In an interview to Le Monde, Geneviève Fioraso, the Minister for Higher Education and Research, explained that the novelty of the text resides in its “win-win” nature for both the student, who will be better protected, and the recruiting company, which will receive a better-trained intern.

She explained that one of the goals is to rehabilitate the image of companies in the eyes of students. In the same way, the new tripartite convention, to be signed by the student, his personal tutor at university, and the internship supervisor at the company, ensures that the training received will be mutually beneficial.

The bill, now that it has been voted on by the National Assembly, will move on to discussion in the Senate.