The internship contract

Available languages: FR, NL

An internship is the opportunity for a student or a young graduate (the intern) to develop practical professional experience in a company.

The difference between the internship contract and the employment contract is the purpose. As a matter of fact, the employment contract essentially consists of performing work in exchange for remuneration, whereas the internship contract aims to complement theoretical training with practical training.

In general, the internship is carried out:

  • As an obligation as part of a graduate programme Although there is no regulation about it, a written internship contract will generally be concluded between the company, the school and the intern. This contract will essentially contain the following elements: the identity of the parties and the supervisor, the duration and the workplace, the intern’s schedule, the obligations of the parties, the training programme, the conditions for anticipated termination of the contract and the reimbursement terms of the intern’s expenses. The internship contract is usually provided by the school. In principle, no remuneration will be paid, only reimbursement of the intern’s real expenses can be allowed. Failing that, the remuneration will be subject to withholding tax on professional income and social security contributions, if applicable.
  • Free of any obligation as part of a graduate programme Provided that it is not legally excluded, there will generally be a professional immersion agreement (convention d’immersion professionnelle (“CIP”)) concluded between the company and the intern. The CIP is defined as the agreement by which the intern, as part of his training, acquires knowledge or skills from an employer, by working. Exactly as the internship contract, the aim of this kind of agreement is practical training (outside any graduate programme). The CIP’s validity is subject to compliance with a number of formalities, including a compulsory written document, written at the latest at the beginning of the agreement’s implementation, containing all the legal requirements. Furthermore, the intern will receive a minimal indemnity which cannot be less than the legally provided scale depending on the intern’s age. This indemnity will be subject to withholding tax on professional income and social security contributions in a limited or ordinary way, depending on the intern’s age.