What is a paid internship ?
The obligation to do one or more internships during his student curriculum is increasingly frequent. This practice is current in many areas, and in particular In the business schools, where all students complete at least one internship during their course. The internship has many advantages, for example the opportunity to concretely discover the world of business and refine your professional project. He can also be paid, which is always appreciable, but for what amount and under what conditions ?
When is an internship paid ?
The financial gratification of interns meets the official rules established by the Ministry of Economy and Finance: The payment of a gratuity to the trainee is mandatory when he is welcomed by the company more than two months: the equivalent of 44 days to 7 hours a day, or even from the 309th hour, during the same academic year or university, even if its presence is not continuous». There is even an established minimum wage, whose hourly rate is 3.90 € per hour of physical presence.
A two-month full-time internship will be paid a minimum of €600.60 net per month. Internships are exempt from social contributions when the gratuity remains at or below the statutory threshold (gross earnings are therefore equal to net earnings). You will, however, be subject to social security contributions for the part that exceeds the statutory amount, if you are paid above the minimum amount.
Nothing obliges the employer to pay you the legal minimum: some internships, especially in consulting and finance, sometimes benefit from a higher bonus of up to 2,500 euros per month !
The rules are different for an internship abroad. Unlike France, most countries do not apply strict legislation on internships. Abroad, the trainee is generally not considered as an employee but as a mere observer who only performs a support function. Internships are never paid in the United States or Australia, but they can sometimes be paid in England, Germany or the Netherlands. Each company applies its own rules, which sometimes also depend on the city in which the internship is carried out (an English company can thus quite remunerate an intern in its London headquarters, but not pay him anything in his subsidiary in Manchester).
Trainees in France enjoy other benefits which, even if they do not constitute remuneration per se, represent a real financial advantage. Trainees are entitled to a refund of half of their transport tickets and restaurant tickets (if the company also offers them to employees of the company).
Who is concerned by the internship pay ?
An intern can work for a public or private company as well as an association. The financial compensation paid, called the “minimum gratuity”, is first paid as seen under the condition of the trainee’s physical presence.
Internship pay is for students in recognized professional training. The internship must therefore be integrated into a training curriculum whose teaching volume is at least 200 hours per year of teaching.
The internship payment does not apply to minors under the age of 16 who are on a traineeship or observation in a company. On the other hand, placements outside pedagogical curricula, that is to say not enrolled in a school or university curriculum, are not recognized and cannot give right to a regulatory gratuity.
The trainee must sign an internship agreement signed by the trainee, the host company (or organization), the educational institution, the referring teacher and the internship tutor. This agreement must include a certain number of mandatory mentions, such as the title of the chosen course, the skills to be acquired during the period of the internship, the activities entrusted to the trainee, the start and end dates of the internship, the weekly period of physical presence and the amount of the gratuity paid.
How do I apply for a paid internship ?
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As with a job search, you can obtain an internship by responding to an internship offer or by making an open application to the company or association of your choice. Most business schools centralize internship offers on dedicated platforms, and there are also many specialized sites (Indeed, HelloWork, Jobijoba, 1jeune1solution…).
Apart from the legal obligation for companies to pay compensation to interns, it is always possible to negotiate if you feel that the internship is not sufficiently paid. Keep in mind, however, that negotiating is always risky, and that it is better to be in a position of strength (if, for example, your skills are rare and in high demand) before jumping in.
Who pays for the internships ?
An intern is not an employee, and therefore keeps his or her legal status as a student throughout the internship. As such, he does not receive a salary but a gratuity paid by the host organisation, that is to say the company or association in which he does his internship.
As for a salary, the trainee’s gratuity is due from the first day of the internship, and paid at the end of the month. The pay slip is not mandatory unless the compensation paid exceeds the statutory minimum of €600.60 net per month.
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