Bill on apprenticeships and professional internships

11 Apr 2018


Dorothée David

A Bill on professional training was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies on 22 March 2018. In particular, the Bill plans to add provisions currently in place for apprenticeship and internship contracts, introduced by the Law of 19 December 2008, to the Labour Code, which, among other things, help to consolidate legal protection, as any disputes must be handled by the labour court. The new applicable rules would be included in one chapter entitled “Le droit de former, le contrat d’apprentissage et la convention de stage de formation” (The right to train, the apprenticeship contract and the training internship agreement) in Book 1 of the Labour Code by the Bill.

As far as the apprenticeship contract is concerned, the main new provisions would be:

  • a compulsory, non-renewable trial period of 3 months, during which the contract may be terminated unilaterally, without giving reasons or notice, with the parties merely having to inform the relevant professional chambers in writing.
  • duration of the apprenticeship contract equal to the actual length of the apprenticeship, with an initial extension automatically granted if the student needs it to complete their training, and a second extension granted if the parties who have signed the contract agree. Any other extension would be granted in accordance with a request made by either party to the relevant professional chamber responsible for making such a decision.
  • suspension of the apprenticeship contract if the apprentice takes extended absence due to illness, maternity or any other reason duly justified and accepted by the relevant professional chambers, with the contract being suspended for the duration of the absence and subsequently extended for the same period. If such a suspension takes place during the 3-month trial period, this trial period would also be extended by the same time, but for no longer than one month.
  • end of the apprenticeship contract extended to include 4 new circumstances: mandatory career change for the apprentice, if the apprentice is removed from the training, in the event of absence without a valid reason for 20 consecutive working days from the training establishment, and when the rights to sickness benefits granted to the apprentice have been exhausted in accordance with article 9, paragraph 1 of the Social Security Code.
  • Possible termination of the apprenticeship contract on the initiative of the training establishment, the apprentice or professional chambers, once the latter have agreed, extended to 2 new circumstances: if either party’s trust in the other has irredeemably broken down, and if the physical or moral integrity of either party is at risk.
  • Mediation procedure involving an apprenticeship consultant if one party asks for the apprenticeship contract be terminated and the other party refuses. If the mediation procedure fails to come to an agreement about whether to terminate or continue the apprenticeship contract, the dispute would be referred to a disputes committee. If the mediation process fails, either party could refer the dispute in question to the employment tribunal.

As far as internships are concerned, the internship contract would now be called a “convention de stage de formation” (training internship agreement), and the Bill specifies that throughout the internship, the intern continues to be a student at the educational establishment.

Bill no. 7268