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S&Ds keep their promise to young Europeans: No more unpaid traineeships


09 May 2023



Today, the European Parliament’s employment committee voted on a report calling for an EU law that would ban unpaid traineeships. The Socialists and Democrats have long been pressing for a waterproof European legislation to ensure that young Europeans get decent first work opportunities enabling them to lead an independent life. The Group has also successfully led the efforts to prevent the weakening of today’s report and to avert the conservatives’ and the far right’s campaign against any legislation on paid traineeships.

Alicia Homs, S&D negotiator on quality traineeships, said:

“Trainees perform a real job so they need to be treated and paid as workers. It is high time to stop abusing them as cheap or free labour. Today, we have taken a big step towards this goal.

“We secured the employment committee’s call for an EU law to treat all traineeships on the open labour market as work and, consequently, trainees as workers. Among other things, this means written agreements with decent working conditions, access to social protection – such as pension rights, health insurance, unemployment benefits, and paid leave – as well recognition of traineeships as work experience in recruitment.

“While for traineeships on the open market, the Parliament calls for minimum standards to be regulated at the European level in the form of a directive, there are also other forms of traineeships, which are part of formal education or curricula, and cannot be regulated at the European level. In those cases, the Parliament wants to replace the current non-binding recommendation with a legally binding decision.

“Those trainees should also have access to social protection and should always be paid in the form of financial compensation to cover their necessary expenses such as accommodation, food and transport – in view of the national socio-economic conditions and the cost of living in the EU member state in which they work.”             

Agnes Jongerius, MEP and S&D spokesperson for employment, said:

“Today, we have some good news for young Europeans. This result shows our determination to ensure that all traineeships are paid, treated as proper work experience, limited in time, not renewed or prolonged to result in the replacement of entry-level jobs, vacancies for full-time jobs or indefinite-term employment contracts. Furthermore, all traineeships should be inclusive and attentive to the needs of vulnerable groups, in particular persons with disabilities.

“I am proud that we have kept our promise to young Europeans to ban unpaid traineeships and that we managed to avert the attempts of the conservatives in this house to vote down the report. We are now expecting the Parliament to confirm this ambitious position at the plenary in June."