The legal framework for traineeships in France
Changes to legislation in the past years have changed the landscape for employing trainees in France. We provide a brief overview of the current legal framework.
What are the general principles?
Under the law in force since 12 July 2014 regarding traineeships and professional training periods (Law n°2014-788, dated 10 July 2014), the legislator wanted to accomplished three objectives: to encourage the development of good quality traineeships, to avoid that internships replace permanent positions within the company, and to protect rights and improve all trainees’ status.
Traineeship periods require the signature of a formal contract (“Convention de stage”) between the company, the trainee and the educational establishment. A decree to be published will define the mandatory provisions to be contained in this document. The maximum duration of the traineeship remains six months. Traineeships are disallowed where a trainee is asked to work on tasks that could be undertaken by a permanent employee, or where they would be used to deal with a temporary increase in company activity, to replace an absent employee or to hire someone for a seasonal job.
Limited number of trainees
To prevent these abusive practices, the law provides a maximum quota of trainees for a given calendar week. The quota will be determined by taking into consideration the number of company employees. A forthcoming decree should further define the different applicable ceilings and exceptions. The company must identify each trainee in a specific part of the staff register.
Supervision of trainees
To ensure the proper supervision of the trainee, the legislation creates the obligation for the company to appoint a tutor to welcome and provide support to the trainee; and for the educational establishment to appoint a referring teacher to ensure the proper conduct of the traineeship.
Rights of the trainee
Statutory provisions ensure comparable rights and protections for trainees and employees in terms of compliance with:
- the maximum daily and weekly working time which may require the implementation of a working time monitoring system
- night work legislation;
- daily and weekly rest periods and public holidays; and
- access to lunch vouchers and reimbursement of travel expenses.
The trainee is entitled to specific leave having the same duration as full-time employees with respect to maternity (or paternity) leave. When the duration of the traineeship exceeds two months, the trainee is entitled to take leave during the training period.
The payment of a gratification is still mandatory for traineeships exceeding two months. The minimum amount to be allocated is defined by the law and corresponds to a lump sum which is not based on the number of working days in the month.
The Labour Inspection must ensure the compliance of the company with the provisions described above. In case of non-compliance with specific obligations, an administrative fine will have to be paid amounting to a maximum of 2.000 EUR per trainee concerned, and 4.000 EUR in the event of a repeat offence within the year following the first offence.