Every year, a large number of prospective graduates go to relevant enterprises or institutions for internships, hoping to increase their skills in the internship and lay a good foundation for future job hunting. However, in some places, there are situations where graduate interns do not receive internship wages, work overtime hours and even have their personal rights and interests damaged.

It is difficult to protect the rights and interests of internships

"Before I joined the company, I interned in two companies, one gave me a salary, the other didn't pay a penny, and the rent, food, and transportation expenses were all asked for by my family, which felt very unfair." Yang Xiao, who graduated from the engineering cost major, told the reporter that he has been working hard for the three-month internship and hopes to stay in the company through good performance. "The company has always told me that if I don't perform well, not only will I not be able to join the company, but the internship appraisal will not be stamped. To this end, I worked hard and worked overtime to work on a lot of projects, but in the end I was told that the company had no recruitment plan at all. I have been deceived for 3 months, do you say that I am not angry? ”

Lou Yu, director of the Institute of Social Law at China University of Political Science and Law, said that the infringement of interns' rights and interests by internship units is mainly reflected in three aspects: first, labor remuneration, especially for some interns in vocational colleges, whose wages and remuneration are usually much lower than those of workers in the same position, or even none; Second, interns are often required to work overtime for long hours and do not pay overtime wages; The third is occupational safety and health, some internship units have poor working conditions, and do not provide adequate training and protection to interns, who are vulnerable to occupational injuries.

Three factors that make it difficult to say "no"

Interns are troubled by "identity". Zhu Hua, a lawyer at Dentons (Nanning) Law Firm in Beijing, and others said that interns have not yet left the campus, and their internship status is not clearly defined in laws and regulations. As a result, in practice, interns are often excluded from the labor law, and in most cases it is difficult to determine that an employment relationship with the employer has been established. Since they are not recognized as workers, interns do not have the courage to say "no" when their rights and interests are damaged.

Interns have a weak sense of rights protection and many concerns. According to industry insiders, individual schools, labor service companies and employers collude with each other and ignore the protection of interns' rights and interests. In pursuit of profits, some vocational colleges and enterprises make profits by organizing internships for students. Schools use marketing to attract new students, while companies take advantage of the opportunity to use cheap labor.

At the same time, the reality of finding a job makes it easy for many interns to ignore the protection of their own rights and interests, and some students start internships without signing an agreement. They are in a vulnerable position, with low bargaining power, and they have to consider themselves unlucky if their rights and interests are damaged, and they are more likely to be intimidated and retaliated against, and dare not defend their rights.

The responsibilities of the relevant regulations are unclear. Lou Yu said that as early as 2016, the Ministry of Education and other five departments issued the "Regulations on the Management of Student Internships in Vocational Schools", and the newly revised regulations were issued and implemented in January 2022. However, the division of labor between the relevant departments is not clear enough, and the provisions on legal liability are also relatively lacking, such as the lack of a supervision and enforcement mechanism. Since internships do not belong to labor relations, they do not fall within the scope of law enforcement of labor inspections, and the administrative departments of education mainly supervise vocational colleges, so it is often difficult to supervise internship units. It needs to be further clarified what responsibilities vocational colleges and internship units need to bear after violating laws and regulations, and whether these responsibilities can form an effective deterrent to internship units.

Take multiple measures to protect the bottom line of fairness and justice

Improve judicial interpretations. Interns in the graduation season are employment-oriented interns and should be accorded the same legal protection as ordinary workers. In this regard, we should take active action in judicial interpretations and support it with a sound rule of law. Lou Yu suggested that the obstacle to the identification of labor relations by the identity of the subject should be removed, and the labor relationship should only be determined based on the way in which labor is provided. The impact of the identity of the subject on the protection of labor rights and interests can be adjusted by "subtraction" in the labor law.

Guide enterprises to assume the main responsibility for student internships. Zhu Hua believes that the education department should pay close attention to the internship environment of students to ensure the personal safety of students; The company and the intern should sign an internship agreement, stipulating the responsibilities and obligations of both parties, and purchasing relevant insurance for the student.

Improve the supervision mechanism. The interviewee suggested that the relevant departments should consolidate the responsibilities of the regulatory departments, urge enterprises to implement corresponding training, education and other responsibilities, and smooth the channels for complaints and reports, and take the compliance of enterprise internships as an indicator for comprehensively evaluating the performance of corporate social responsibility. At the same time, in terms of tax incentives and financial support, positive incentives will be given to enterprises with good compliance.

Half Moon Talk Reporter: Qin Xingxing/Editor: Jiang Lei

Original title: "Being used as a cheap labor force, encountering "identity" troubles

A few months of graduation internship is not considered labor?

(Half Moon Talk)