Everything you need to know about internships

Are you about to embark on an internship as part of your studies? We take a look at what legal rights you have during an internship, such as compensation, holidays, contract, duration of the internship, etc.

THE ANNUAL “STAGE DATING” FORUM

Each year, the Grand Reims urban community organises a forum called “Stage dating” (“Internship dating”) to support students looking for an internship.

stagedating-reims.com

WHAT IS AN INTERNSHIP? 

An internship is most often a period of training, apprenticeship or further training that lasts from a few days to several months in an appropriate location – in a company for full-time or continuing education.

An internship is a job in the professional world that allows students to acquire new skills or to apply skills they have acquired elsewhere.

This is a temporary placement in a professional environment during which you must be given assignments in keeping with the educational approach established with your educational institute.

How and where to find an internship

Use social networks to your advantage to find an internship!

USEFUL TIP

The City of Reims and Grands Reims region offer many internships throughout the year, in different departments and in various fields (sports, culture, communication, education, youth, business, student life, maintenance, etc.). Feel free to send an unsolicited application (cover letter and CV) to the City of Reims and/or Grand Reims region.

Send an application to the City of Reims:

City of Reims (Ville de Reims), Mr Mayor (Monsieur le maire)

HR department (Direction des Ressources Humaines) - CS 80036 - 51722 Reims Cedex

Send an application to the Grands Reims region:

The Grand Reims urban community (Communauté Urbaine du Grand Reims), Madam President (Madame la Présidente)

HR department (Direction des Ressources Humaines) - CS 80036 - 51722 Reims Cedex

More asked questions

WHAT DOESN’T QUALIFY AS AN INTERNSHIP?

An internship should not be offered to a student:

  • to replace an employee who is absent, whose employment contract has been suspended or who has been dismissed
  • whose regular tasks are the same as those in a permanent role
  • to support the company’s temporary growth
  • as a seasonal job

WHY?

Because your internship is not an employment contract. It must match a specific educational project that leads to the student gaining targeted skills. This is why internships “outside the curriculum” are not permitted in France.

What course must I study to do an internship?

You can do an optional internship or a mandatory internship during your course, but it must be agreed by your institute.

Compensation

The duration of an internship can vary – it can last from a few hours to several months. Since the Act of 10 July 2014 and the decree no. 2014-1420 of 27 November 2014, an internship cannot exceed 6 months or 924 hours. This applies to companies, public administrations, associations or any other host organisations.

Since this decree, interns must be paid as soon as an internship exceeds two months.

Technically, as the intern is not considered as an employee, they don’t receive a salary, allowance or even pay, but rather compensation.

This compensation does not depend on the degree and is the same regardless of the level of study. It is paid monthly rather than at the end of the internship.

What is the minimum amount of the compensation?

It is calculated as follows:

  • Based on the number of hours of the internship
  • The compensation’s hourly rate is equal to €3.90 per hour when completing the internship
  • This corresponds to 15% of the social security scheme’s upper limit
How is this compensation paid?
  • You receive compensation monthly. It must be paid at the end of each month and not at the end of the internship
  • Reminder, it is calculated from the first day of the internship and not from when the internship exceeds two months
Income tax

Since the Act of 10 July 2014, internship allowances have been exempt from income tax.

However, the tax exemption has limitations.

For paid internships in 2020, the tax exemption threshold was set at €18,473. Beyond this limit, the excess will be taxable.

Internship agreement

The internship agreement is the equivalent of an employment contract for interns. Made mandatory by the decree published in the “Journal Officiel” on 31 August 2006, the purpose of the internship agreement is to specify the commitments and responsibilities of the educational institute, the host company, and the intern. Furthermore, to be valid, the internship agreement must be signed by:

  • the intern
  • the host organisation
  • the internship mentor in the host organisation
  • the educational or training institute
  • the academic adviser in the educational institute

Since the Act of 10 July 2014, the internship agreement has had a threefold objective: to solidify the idea of internships within higher education programmes in order to foster employability, to strengthen their educational role and, to improve the intern’s status.

If the internship takes place abroad, an information sheet presenting the host country's regulations on the rights and duties of the intern must be attached to the internship agreement.

Do I have to complete a probationary period if I am hired after completing internship?

If the employee is hired within three months after completing the internship in a private sector company in metropolitan France, the probationary period can be reduced by at least half. If the job corresponds to the work performed during the internship, then the duration of said internship is fully deducted from the probationary period. A probationary period of more than two months is taken into account when calculating seniority rights.

What happens after I’ve completed the internship?
  • You’ll receive an internship certificate from the host organisation
  • It provides a summary of the total effective duration of the internship and the amount of the compensation paid (if you are entitled to it)
  • You must send a document to your institute whereby you will assess how you were received in your internship
  • You can be hired by the organisation where you did your internship, under the usual conditions (permanent or fixed-term contract)
Do I have other rights?

You get the same rights as the employees of the host organisation with regard to:

  • working hours (maximum daily and weekly working hours, daily rest, weekly rest, number of public holidays and night shifts)
  • access to the staff canteen or meal vouchers
  • access to social and cultural activities
  • reimbursement of your public transportation costs (up to 50%)
  • holidays: if your internship lasts more than two months, the internship agreement must include the possibilities of holidays and leave of absence.

If the internship lasts less than two months, providing time off is not mandatory.

In all cases, holiday pay is optional.

If I study abroad, can I do an internship in France?

Whatever your nationality, French or other, if you are studying abroad and want to come to France to do an internship as part of your studies, French law on internships (especially on compensation) will apply, provided that you meet the conditions set forth in the Code for Entry and Residence of Foreigners and Right of Asylum (CESEDA) as an intern, as specified below.

If you are a French student studying abroad, you do not have specific entry and residence requirements for internships.

Internships for international students

To qualify as an intern, the international student must first comply with the following provisions:

  • have an internship agreement signed by the student intern, their institute of education abroad and the host organisation in France, signed by the prefect
  • show proof of sufficient funds to support themselves in France
Regular entry and residence in France

To reside in France for the duration of the internship, the international student intern must comply with the legislation on entry and residence in France and must hold:

  • either a temporary residence permit marked “intern” (which requires a short-stay visa to be issued)
  • or a long-stay visa with a residence permit marked “intern” issued by their consulate for an internship lasting more than three months (which exempts them from applying for a temporary residence permit marked “intern” once they arrive in France).
How do I protect myself during my internship?

Can I refuse to carry out a task as an intern?

The internship agreement must include “the definition of the tasks given to the intern according to the training objectives”. If the intern is requested to carry out a task which does not fall within this definition, the intern may be entitled to refuse it without being considered at fault. The best thing to do is to talk about it with your school/university and company managers.

If I have a dispute during my internship, who should I contact?

Firstly, talk about it with your tutor and the person in charge of your institute. If no solution is found, you can refer the matter to the civil court judge.

Health insurance coverage

Except in special cases, you are already enrolled in a statutory health insurance scheme.

Find out more about AMELI from your health insurance company

Health and personal insurance coverage

This includes health cover and accidental cover for work-related illnesses.

The terms of coverage depend on the amount of your compensation.

Civil liability insurance

You can take out a civil liability insurance policy with an insurer for any damage you may cause on the premises of the internship, such as to the equipment lent to you or your colleagues.

What happens if I become ill?

There is no sick leave for interns.

However, you must provide a sick note from your doctor as proof of any absence.

In the event of any work-related illnesses and/or accidents:

When the compensation, in France or in some cases abroad, is up to the legal limit (i.e., €3.90 per hour for the year 2021), it is your institute of education that contributes and is considered responsible.

When the compensation, in France or in some cases abroad, exceeds the legal limit (i.e., €3.90 per hour for the year 2021), the host organisation is fully responsible.

For internships abroad or if moving to the French Overseas Territories, it is important to have personal accident insurance and medical repatriation and legal assistance coverage.

Does the internship allow me to earn points for my retirement?

Yes, for all paid internships that last more than two months, but you must apply to the appropriate pension fund within two years after completing your internship. You must provide proof of an internship certificate that mentions the total effective duration of the internship and the amount of compensation paid.

Testimony

This internship gave me opportunity to improve my knowledge in communication and to learn about different events and marketing positions. My internship went very well thanks to the excellent communication between the team members. I also really enjoyed being at the heart of project organisation for a community; it makes the job more hands-on and appealing. It was a great work experience and I hope the next ones will be just as rewarding.

Testimony from Marie-Alix Goujon, intern in the Grands Reims region

Working in Reims

Last update : 29 June 2022

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