This is what the Government announced this week: the scholarship holders will have to be registered with Social Security by the companies that host them. From now on, they will have to pay their contributions, whether their work is paid or not.
The Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations has already approved a regulation that required them to be registered in the system in 2018, but it did not establish the regulations to put it into operation. Now, José Luis Escrivá has set a maximum term of three months to develop these regulations and guarantee that people who carry out internships are included in Social Security. If the first package of measures is approved this month, the scholarship recipients would start their contributions as early as September.
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If the first package of measures is approved this month, the scholarship recipients would start their contributions as early as September. Getty Creative.
It is, therefore, a measure aimed at the most basic protection for the figure of the scholarship holder, which will now oblige companies and educational centers to take charge of this obligation in terms of Social Security.
This is just one section of the new agreement: the draft includes many more measures, such as changes in the revaluation processes, early, active or forced retirement, as well as a future review of widow’s pensions. But it is clear that the interns are a key piece, since in the end they will be the ones who will maintain the system.
The rights of the intern, some great ‘unknown’
In 2011 it was established that scholarship recipients should contribute to Social Security, but only those who were receiving any economic compensation in return, even if they were simply diets or travel aids. Unfortunately, unpaid internships abound in the Spanish labor market. In most cases, trainees are not paid for their work.
Until now, extracurricular internships were governed by a special Social Security scheme, where students did not contribute for unemployment benefit, but they did have the right to receive healthcare and retirement benefit. Even so, it is very common that the interns are not registered or that there is not even any employment relationship between the company and them.
But scholarship recipients have rights and obligations. They cannot carry out work activities typical of a hired worker, since they are still training. They also have the right to know the rules relating to the prevention of occupational hazards of the company and having a flexible schedule that allows them to attend their academic activities. They must have a contract stating the hours of work, their tasks and the duration of the contract.
Above all, companies must be transparent and guarantee the best possible working conditions for their trainees. That entities do not comply with their obligations only contributes to increasing student dissatisfaction, and may cause, in the long term, the emigration of Spanish talent towards other countries with better situations.
Having a trainee is very positive for the company and for the student, since it is often their first contact with the world of work. However, it is essential that the rights of trainees are known and respected by the companies. It remains to be seen whether this new agreement will produce a real change, but if so, it could be a great step to regularize the situation of these employees and improve the quality of the internship market in Spain.
The other side of the coin