EPSU Youths' message for International Youth Day: ban unpaid internships

20230811_EPSU Youths' message

(11 August 2023) This International Youth Day, the EPSU Youth Network is supporting the ETUCs initiative on quality traineeships. As young people struggle with rising living costs and increasing uncertainty, there is an urgent need to both improve the quality of traineeships and address the situation when traineeships replace entry-level jobs.

The prevalence of unpaid and poorly paid internships disproportionately effects young women and youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, exacerbating social inequalities. For example, according to the EU Barometer, only 49% of women are likely to be paid during an internship, as opposed to 60% of men. Many talented young people who do not have access to financial support are unable to enter their chosen profession as they cannot afford to work for below their basic living costs, currently estimated to be around €1028.

The ETUC Youth Committee have been leading the fight for quality internships for many years. A recent win in June was a large majority vote in the European Parliament for an EU Directive to ban unpaid internships. Such a Directive would include requirements for fair remuneration in line with minimum wage, social security coverage and clear training and learning objectives.

In July, the European Commission launched the first phase of the consultation of the European social partners on a possible action further improving the quality of traineeships. The EPSU Youth Network is now supporting the ETUC Youth Commitee in the ongoing consultation to ensure the interests of young public service workers are taken into account.