Belgium: Youth Forum takes legal step to ban unpaid internships

European Youth Forum

(European Youth Forum, 2017)

In a milestone in the fight against unpaid internships, today (12th May) the European Youth Forum lodges a legal complaint on the issue of unpaid internships in Belgium.

The complaint aims to challenge and ultimately change Belgian legislation, seeking a legal decision that will set a precedent across Europe and beyond to make this unfair and discriminatory practice illegal.

Currently Belgium has the highest percentage of unpaid interns in the EU, with only 1 in 5 (18%) being paid for work. One focus of the complaint is on the “stage bénévolat” or voluntary internship offered to young people after their studies, which are often used to replace entry-level jobs. The complaint argues that unpaid internships are in violation of the right to fair remuneration as well as the right of children and young persons to protection as defined in the European Social Charter.

The Youth Forum’s complaint comes a week after the EU Commission’s European Youth Week, where events were held across the continent to discuss and celebrate the contribution of young people in society. However, the use of young Europeans as cheap or free labour is a problem that needs to be tackled urgently, as employers continue to exploit youth at a time when 1 in 3 young people are at risk of poverty and social exclusion, making youth the most at risk age group.

There is a growing pressure on international institutions as well as national governments to end the practice of unpaid internships as they are inaccessible to young people that do not have the financial means to support themselves. The European Youth Forum has already set out a European Quality Charter for Internships and Apprenticeships, urging Member States to adopt regulations to ensure that providers of internships commit to quality standards and decent pay for internships.

Zuzana Vaneckova, Board Member of the European Youth Forum:

“Unpaid internships must be banned once and for all. They are a prime example of inequality, providing opportunities only to those who have the financial means and shutting everyone else out. In an era of high youth unemployment they are simply inexcusable and only serve to further marginalise young people, who have been the first to suffer from the economic crisis and austerity measures. » 

If the complaint submitted today is accepted and validated by the European Committee of Social Rights, then it has the potential to transform the working conditions for interns, not only in Belgium but also in all other Member States of the Council of Europe. As highlighted by the European Pillar of Social Rights last week, the European Union must do more to combat social exclusion and discrimination. By lodging this complaint, the European Youth Forum hopes this marks a huge step forward towards this goal.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Rapid action needed for people to meet challenges of changing world of work

Track the spread of coronavirus around the world

MEPs adopt new Fisheries Partnership with Morocco including Western Sahara

Want to hear about the ideas solving the world’s biggest challenges? Follow UpLink on Twitter

Afghanistan: Civilian casualties exceed 10,000 for sixth straight year

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Syrian detainees, Zimbabwe hunger crisis, Kabul attack, Mexico disappearances, new tech to feed the world

Juncker and Tusk killed Greece on 07 July 2015 to meet the Commission’s summer vacation plan? #Grexit #Greferendum #Graccident

“Let hope be the antidote to fear” – Today’s WHO briefing and other key Coronavirus updates, tips and tools

UN calls for funds to ease ‘deteriorating’ humanitarian situation in Gaza and West Bank

India and the US: 5 ways the countries compare

Mountains matter, especially if you’re young, UN declares

IQ scores have been falling for decades, new study finds

France, Germany challenge Trump’s America on Iran and the reign of the dollar

Main results of EU-Japan summit: Tokyo, 17/07/2018

Coronavirus: Commission Statement on consulting Member States on proposal to further expand State aid Temporary Framework to recapitalisation measures

EU-US Privacy Shield data exchange deal: US must comply by 1 September, say MEPs

China and China-EU Relations in the New Era

Who is to pay the dearest price in a global slowdown?

Health spending set to outpace GDP growth to 2030

The UK referendum has already damaged Europe: even a ‘remain’ result is not without cost to Britain and the EU

Decent working conditions for the young health workforce: what are the challenges and can we find solutions?

How to survive the COVID-19 lockdown with a newborn baby

Half the population of Yemen at risk of famine: UN emergency relief chief

The challenges of the universalization of the health system in Brazil. What can we change?

EU future at stake: MEPs broadly welcome Commission’s recovery package proposals

The gateway to carbon pricing? Air pollution policy

Turkey: Commission continues humanitarian support for refugees

High internet taxes are restricting access and slowing economic growth

Croatian Presidency priorities discussed in the European Parliament

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

Global economy faces gravest threat since the crisis as coronavirus spreads

Sacrifice of fallen ‘blue helmet’ to be honoured with UN’s highest peacekeeping award

3 things the G20 can do to save the World Trade Organization

Remarks by High Representative/ Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the press conference following the EU-China Strategic Dialogue

Flexible jobs can make work-life balance worse, a German study finds

US, Russia oblige each other in Syria and Ukraine selling off allies

A new European banking space is born this year

GSMA Outlines New Developments For MWC19 Shanghai

At global health forum, UN officials call for strong, people-focused health systems

Leaders need hard data to make the hard decisions about sustainability

War of words in Davos over Eurozone’s inflation/deflation

Turkey: MEPs cut support by €70m due to no improvement in respect for EU values

Judges urge Security Council to serve interests of all UN Member States

Draghi strives to control the unruly exploitation of financial markets by banking leviathans

EU to pay a dear price if the next crisis catches Eurozone stagnant and deflationary; dire statistics from Eurostat

Endocrine disruptors: A strategy for the future that protects EU citizens and the environment

Mergers: Commission clears E.ON’s acquisition of Innogy, subject to conditions

Coronavirus in Brazil: mental health in tragedy

Commission supports Member States in their transition to a climate-neutral economy

Germany and France only care about keeping their borrowing cheap

A Wholesome Health Care for Transgenders: Sex Reassignment Surgery

How three US cities are using data to end homelessness

Here are 5 reasons why the ocean is so important

Suriname’s climate promise, for a sustainable future

Most ‘precious’ and ‘scarce’ resource of our time is dialogue, UN chief tells Doha policy forum

Yemen: Tackling the world’s largest humanitarian crisis

London is planting a giant bee corridor to boost insect numbers

Sudan military committed to ‘ensuring stability’ and ‘peaceful transition’ says senior diplomat, as UN rights chief appeals for protesters’ rights to be upheld

European Council: Choosing new leaders for the EU betrays efforts for a wider arrangement

5 ways companies can support their remote workforce

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s