Hiring false interns in Spain

In Spain, there is an ongoing campaign to control the tasks that persons interning in companies may perform. Consequently, many companies have had to recognize a labour relationship with persons working for them as false interns.

If a company has decided to incorporate university and/or vocational students as interns, the company should consider the following:

  • A monetary compensation to the intern obliges the company to register the person into the Spanish social security system and to pay contributions.
  • The objective of the internship is educational and one must contribute to the students’ learning, whether the tasks performed make any profit or not.
  • In any case, an intern cannot substitute an employee.

The existence of a labour relationship can be found when an intern

  • Performs the same tasks as any other employee
  • Does not have a tutor in the company
  • Organizes his or her tasks autonomously
  • Is hired for a time period which exceeds six months
  • Expands his or her duties beyond the contract signed with the University

In a case where the Spanish labour inspectorate detects the existence of a labour relationship, the intern will become a permanent employee of the company. The company has to admit the length of service from the day of incorporation and pay the intern as stated in the contract.

The labour inspectorate will reclaim contributions according to the general regime from the company with a surcharge of 20 per cent. The company’s sanction fee can reach up to 6.250 Euros.

This is why it is recommended that a company review the labour situation of its employees and take the necessary precautions to avoid problems with the Labour Inspectorate.

This article is not considered as legal advice

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