Legalities of unpaid praktikum

11 posts in this topic

I had a very positive interview with a rather reputable company about a praktikum position as a Networking technician and programmer. I was quite thrilled throughout the appointment, especially since something like this would definitely give me a boost in work experience and knowledge even if the company decided not to take me on as an official employee. The euphoria was then short lived, as it was mentioned that this position was unpaid--and the position is for a year. I contacted the Bundesagentur für Arbeit and asked if I could receive ALG 1 or even ALG 2 while working as a praktikant--I was told that ALG 1 was a remote possibility for up to 60 days provided that the work hours did not exceed 15 hours a week. Anything over 15 hours would have me on my own--paid or unpaid.

 

It is leading me to the question of if something like this is even legal, and how this is even possible for an adult at all (assuming he is not living with his parents or lucky enough to have some €25.000 saved up!)...someone has to pay the rent! What are the laws on praktikum positions and compensation? I can't see how that is even humanly right--people aren't slaves!

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"rather reputable"?

Unpaid internships can be considered exploitive if the company is receiving benefits greater than the intern.  On the other hand, if this a continuing of your education (for which you would pay for) and an opportunity for eventual employment, the plusses might outweigh the minuses.  That determination is on you.

It's called a  praktikum for a reason.  It is not a paying job...it's an education.  If you cannot afford the education, then go out an find a job without the  praktikum experience.

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Quote

The euphoria was then short lived, as it was mentioned that this position was unpaid--and the position is for a year. I contacted the Bundesagentur für Arbeit and asked if I could receive ALG 1 or even ALG 2 while working as a praktikant--I was told that ALG 1 was a remote possibility for up to 60 days provided that the work hours did not exceed 15 hours a week. Anything over 15 hours would have me on my own--paid or unpaid.

 

Whoever you spoke with at the Agentur should also have known about the minimum wage and when it applies. <_<

 

Quote

It is leading me to the question of if something like this is even legal

 

Unless it meets very narrowly defined criteria (compulsory work experience for certain programmes), internships have regular work contracts (usually with a Befristung).

 

 

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26 minutes ago, catjones said:

It's called a  praktikum for a reason.  It is not a paying job...it's an education.  If you cannot afford the education, then go out an find a job without the  praktikum experience.

 

Unfortunately many unscrupulous employers try to classify the work performed by regular employees as internships in order to save money. 

 

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not all internships qualify for "Mindestlohn" 

https://www.arbeitsrechte.de/mindestlohn-praktikum/

https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/milog/__22.html

 

If the internship is mandatory part of your curriculum, or if a non-mandatory internship lasts three months or less, no payment is required. If your case is not one of the two aforementionend, and you are being paid less than minimum wage, you can sue for damages at Arbeitsgericht

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AFAIK the only way a company does not have to pay you Mindestlohn is if is is a Pflichtpraktikum (you need it to get our degree and the university confirms this for your employer) or if the internship is less than 3 months. This means cummulative. If you do a voluntary internship now and in 2022 with the same company, the cannot be longer than 3 months combined. 
If you already have your degree, the same applies except then there is no Pflichtpraktikum. 

I have never heard of a mandatory internship lasting 12 months. 

Any halfway savy/reputable/somewhat larger company should know those rules and abide by them as not complying will get them in trouble very quickly. If they have any kind of HR department, they should know that this is an absolute no go. 

What is the position classified as? Internship (Praktikum) or something else? 

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Hi guys

 

Lots of nice info on this page which is exactly what i needed, i do have one question though.

 

Does anyone know where i can find the rules regarding an unpaid internship (less than 15 hours per week) whilst on ALG1 on an official website or document?

 

I'm in a similar situation and would like to read all the rules first before making a decision.

 

Kind Regards

 

Sam 

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I had university required internship that was not paid. Its a good way to get your feet in the door. Aim to get a full time or working student position after like 3 months

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13 hours ago, ananse said:

I had university required internship that was not paid. Its a good way to get your feet in the door. Aim to get a full time or working student position after like 3 months

 

How does that help the two posters in this thread who are receiving ALGI? Unpaid mandatory internships for students are legal in Germany, however, students are not generally eligible for unemployment benefits. Therefore, unless the internships are organised by the Agentur für Arbeit, I don't see any circumstances where someone claiming ALG I could legally take an unpaid internship.

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