International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations
Volume 32 (2016)
Volume 32 (2016) / Issue 2
The initial aim of traineeships (or internships) is to ease the transition of young people from school to work by providing them with hands-on work experience. Although traineeships are intended to be educational experiences, employers have started to use trainees as a form of cheap or unpaid labour. Instead of including trainees within the scope of labour laws, they are regarded as non-employees, and traineeships are regulated by traineeship agreements. However, it is not clear whether the rights of trainees working in the framework of a traineeship agreement are sufficiently protected to exclude them from the scope of labour law and prevent their precariousness in the labour market. The aim of this article is to address this question. Taking European Union (EU) law (especially the Quality Framework for Traineeships) as a starting point and then considering the laws of Estonia, Finland, and France, it is argued that at EU level, as well as in Estonia and Finland, trainees working in the framework of a traineeship agreement are not sufficiently protected to prevent their precariousness in the labour market. Trainees working in the framework of a traineeship agreement are exposed to precariousness due to the special features of the agreement as well as their limited labour rights. However, the example of France shows that with more protective regulation of traineeships, the precariousness of trainees can be prevented even without including them within the scope of labour law. It is proposed that at EU level and/or in the other Member States (MS) under examination, more protective regulation of traineeships should be adopted in order to prevent the precariousness of trainees or, alternatively, their inclusion in the scope of labour law should be considered.
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