The Problem of Unpaid Internships: Legal Guide to Complaints Under the European Social Charter
33 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2017 Last revised: 29 Nov 2017
Date Written: September 4, 2017
Young people entering the job market are in a precarious economic position. Across Europe, and in Belgium in particular, those who wish to enter into the professional world are faced with the de facto mandate that in order to gain experience and build the connections that will enable them to find paid professional work in the future, they must complete several internships. Yet many of these internships are unpaid or underpaid, forcing some young people to rely on their savings or their parents and shutting others out of the process entirely.
The European Committee of Social Rights (the “Committee”) accepts collective complaints lodged by non-governmental organisations alleging violations of the European Social Charter (the “Charter”). The EU Public Interest Clinic prepared this draft Complaint for the non-profit organization European Youth Forum, alleging that unpaid internships in Belgium violate the Charter. Specifically, the provisions in Belgian law that enable unpaid internships, and the lack of enforcement of provisions that aim to curtail them, violate Articles 4, 7, and 10 of the Charter, which provide for fair remuneration, the protection of young people, and financial assistance for vocational training, respectively.
Keywords: Council of Europe, human rights, social rights, monitoring mechanism
JEL Classification: J3, J7, J83, J88, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation