Internships in France are highly regulated, and there are lots of rules that both companies and interns must follow to make sure that the internship is successful and respects French labor laws.
If you’re planning on doing an internship in France, here are the basic things you need to know about the status of intern:
1) You must be a student currently enrolled in a university program in order to complete an internship.
This is to discourage students from completing one internship after another after graduating and never getting hired for a real full-time job. Of course, this doesn’t prevent students from doing bogus enrollments in degree programs to get a convention de stage.
2) If your internship is more than 2 months long, you’ll be paid at least a minimum monthly stipend.
Interns in France must be paid a small amount, about €2.88 per hour, if their internship lasts longer than 2 months or 40 days of work. This works out to €436 per month for full time work.
3) You must sign a Convention de Stage with your employer and university.
To get hired as an intern, you, your school, and your employer must set the terms and conditions of your internship in writing in a convention de stage, including start and end dates, responsibilities, and conditions for ending the agreement. The document must be written in French and signed by all three parties. If you’re coming from abroad to do an internship in France, you’ll need this document to get your visa.
4) The maximum length of an internship is 6 months.
Internships cannot last longer than 6 months, and students cannot complete more than 6 months of internships for each year they are enrolled in school.
Students who complete more than one internship during an academic year must wait 1/3 of the duration of the first internship before beginning the second internship. In other words, if a student does a 3-month internship, s/he must wait 1 month before beginning another 3-month internship. This does not apply if the student quits the first internship
5) The company is required to contribute to transportation costs and tickets restaurant.
All companies are required to contribute 50% of the cost of a monthly public transportation cost for employees who use public transport to come to work. Give your employer a copy of your Navigo receipt and the amount will automatically be added into your pay stub.
If your company provides subsidized meal tickets (tickets restaurant) to employees, you will have the option to purchase them as well.
6) You don’t pay insurance as an intern.
Social charges are not taken out of your intern stipend, which means that you remain insured on your student insurance or your parents’ insurance. If you are a foreign student, this means that you will either have to provide proof of insurance or purchase a health care plan (mutuelle) for the duration of your stay in France.
7) You only pay taxes if your internship is more than 3 months long.
Regardless of how much you make, you don’t have to declare income from your internship if it’s shorter than 3 months. This is true even if you’re making €3.000 per month.
However, if you do one six-month internship, you have to declare your earnings and pay income tax on them.
8) You don’t get paid vacation as an intern.
Interns are not required to get vacation time during their contract. So while you may get days off if one of France’s many public holidays falls during your internship period, your time off will otherwise be at the discretion of your employer, and possibly detailed in your convention de stage.
9) You don’t get a bonus at the end of your internship.
Most other forms of employment contracts in France come with some kind of bonus at the end – an “indemnité de précarité” at the end of a CDD worth 10% of the employee’s total income during the contract, or an “indemnité de rupture” when a CDI ends. Internships, unfortunately, come with no such bonus at the end.
10) You don’t get unemployment when your internship is finished.
Your employer doesn’t have to pay unemployment insurance (6.4%) on your earnings as an intern, and the internship is considered an integral part of an educational program. Therefore, when it ends, you’re still considered a student, and you won’t be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.