ISO wants mandatory internship allowance for students

Over a quarter of the interns feel they are being used as cheap employees and almost half of them do not receive an internship allowance. The Dutch National Student Association (Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg, ISO) believes this is “internship abuse” and, therefore, wants a mandatory internship allowance. Tilburg University’s party Front supports that proposal.

Image: Unsplash

Almost four thousand students have completed the survey on internships that research bureau ResearchNed distributed. This was conducted (in Dutch) on behalf of student organization ISO. 27 percent of the students say they are used as cheap employees. And 19 percent say they are given too many responsibilities.

An internship is compulsory for 69 percent of the university students who completed the questionnaire. This applies in particular to students in the fields of education and health care. At Tilburg University, only the Bachelor’s Bestuurskunde (Public Administration) and several Master’s in Psychology have a mandatory internship, says Charlotte Grimberg of party Front.

An internship allowance is not a given. Of the university students who do an internship, 51 percent get nothing. If they do get an allowance, it is on average 408 euros per month (converted to a 40-hour work week). In the government, by the way, interns receive 652 euros per month. “For many students, the internship allowance is very important,” the report states. “After all, students who do internships have no or less time for a job on the side.”

Sounds of heavy underpayment are not heard among Tilburg students. “I do know that the internship positions for Master’s students in Psychology are scarce,” says Grimberg. “There, it sometimes happens that they receive no compensation at all or are not satisfied. For public administration students, things tend to be better.”

Charlotte Grimberg. Image: Ton Toemen

Work to be done

“Work remains to be done” to improve the position of interns, concludes ISO. “An internship is your very first experience on the job market,” says president Lisanne de Roos. “That’s where the student’s personal growth should be central, not the employer’s gain.”

Therefore, ISO wants an internship allowance to be mandatory. Also, the supply and quality of internships should be better monitored. Furthermore, ISO wants it to be easier for students to report abuses of internships to their institution.

Party Front supports that idea. Grimberg: “A compulsory internship allowance would be more than justified. Of course, an intern must be supervised and is still exploring where his or her strengths lie. But we think all student interns should be paid proportionally for their workload.”

Translated by Language Center, Riet Bettonviel

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