ANIMALS
FUNNY
INSPIRING
LIFESTYLE
NEWS
PARENTING
RELATIONSHIPS
SCIENCE AND NATURE
WHOLESOME
WORK
Contact Us Privacy Policy Cookie Policy
© GOOD Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.

European Union is taking serious steps to ban unpaid internships in 2024: 'It's not inclusive'

Job seekers from average families are having a hard time surviving with unpaid internships and it's about time this practice comes to an end.

European Union is taking serious steps to ban unpaid internships in 2024: 'It's not inclusive'
Representative cover image: The flags of the European Union in Berlaymont, the EU Commission headquarters on August 31, 2023, in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Thierry Monasse | Getty Images)

Internships do not pay much but it's necessary to build up your resume with a bit of work experience in the industry you are trying to enter. However, everyone might frown upon those unpaid internships which are even more than what it sounds like. Lucas, a student in his late 20s shared his views on the concept of doing unpaid internships and how hard it is to get by without receiving a dime for their hard work, per The Guardian.

Image Source: Various international institutions and NGOs are also based in Brussels, such as NATO. In recent times, there has been discussion of a possible relocation of EU agencies to a different area of the city. (Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images)
Image Source: Various international institutions and NGOs are also based in Brussels, such as NATO. In recent times, there has been discussion of a possible relocation of EU agencies to a different area of the city. (Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images)

While networking with potential employers, Lucas was an unpaid intern by the day and by the nighttime, he was doing a second shift, working at a library in the suburbs of Paris as he had to earn something to pay his bills. “You work for your internship and then you work for money,” 27-year-old Lucas told the outlet after he had finished a bunch of internships across five months. One of those internships was unpaid whereas others provided him around $344 a month and he was forced to take up summer jobs to be able to buy essentials.



 

“I buy a lot of rice,” he said, laughing. “They say you’re lucky to have an internship – but you’re paying for that luck and prestige because you cut back on food or other things.” As unpaid internships are becoming a rising problem for young job seekers around the globe, there is a possible ray of light at the end of the tunnel. In June, MEPs voted in favor of banning most unpaid internships as the European Commission oversees the drafting of the legislation. In the EU, the parliament has often described unpaid internships as a "form of exploitation of young workers and a violation of their rights."



 

So, good news for job aspirants might be around the corner in 2024. “Sometimes, I think it’s absurd. How can this be legal?” said Tea Jarc, of the European Trade Union Confederation. “You cannot have different criteria for young people just because they are young. You cannot choose that you are simply not going to pay them if they perform the work. In many of the traineeships, we see the lack of this training aspect. There’s no mentorship, there’s no supervision, there’s no guidance.”

Image Source: Student demonstration to 'demand the elimination of written tests in the 2022 school-leaving examination' against alternating school work. They also demonstrate to remember Lorenzo Parelli who was killed whilst working at an unpaid internship. (Photo by Stefano Montesi - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Image Source: Student demonstration to 'demand the elimination of written tests in the 2022 school-leaving examination' against alternating school work. They also demonstrate to remember Lorenzo Parelli who was killed whilst working at an unpaid internship. (Photo by Stefano Montesi - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

“What we see is that many times, they are replacing entry-level jobs,” Jarc said, per the outlet. “Unpaid internships are holding back an entire generation, while employers are enjoying the fruit of free labor,” María Rodríguez Alcázar, president of the European Youth Forum said. Another 24-year-old who had completed an internship with NATO expressed her concerns about the same. He was surprised when he found out that all the interns, including himself, come from privileged families. He said, "It's not inclusive."



 

Alcazar added, “All the interns had the same level of financial security. Unpaid internships have become a barrier for the social mobility of young people." She added how countless youngsters are taking up multiple side jobs to earn a living before landing their ideal job and are surviving on the "ramen noodles-only" budget. “They’re working such long hours that they are above the European working hours limit,” Alcazar continued. “And, of course, this is causing them stress and it also impacts their sense of self-worth.”

Some countries in the European Union are actively shutting down unpaid internships lately. France set out regulations on internships and limited unpaid opportunities to a maximum of two months in 2014 whereas Romania has made it compulsory for companies to pay interns a stipend since 2019. According to Alcazar, the draft legislation is expected to be completed by 2024 as the European Parliament seeks to have it approved before elections in June. “This is a massive step to ensure better inclusion in the open labor market. Young people are paying for these unpaid internships with their health and well-being,” Alcazar concluded.



 

More Stories on Upworthy