Is it worth getting an internship

Internship: salary or no salary?

Payment during internship: yes or no?

The prejudice that interns toil into the late hours, take on tasks that no one else wants to do and are not even paid for, still holds up well. The reality, however, looks different, because an internship offers both pupils and students valuable insights into everyday work and brings with it the opportunity to put the theoretically treated topics into practice. So that interns just make coffee and take on unpleasant hard work is not right. But what about the payment?

When it comes to remuneration, it depends on what exactly you are doing for an internship, because there are also different regulations regarding the remuneration for the various types of internship.

Voluntary internship

If you would like to do an internship voluntarily, for example to get to know a job, to bridge waiting times for apprenticeship or university places, or simply to have better chances of a job after graduation, you can look forward to it. Since the minimum wage was introduced in January 2015, not only full-time or part-time employees, but also voluntary interns have to be paid at least with this. With this regulation, the legislature wants to counteract the reputation of cheap labor, because the minimum wage law obliges the employer to pay you from 01/01/2020 a salary of at least 9.35 euros gross per hour to pay.

In order to receive the minimum wage, however, you have to meet a few requirements:

  • your internship must voluntary be
  • the duration of your internship is running longer than three months
  • you have signed an internship contract with your company

If your internship is scheduled for a shorter period of time, for example three weeks or two months, you are not entitled to any remuneration. Smaller companies in particular, which cannot pay the minimum wage for interns, often offer internships for a period shorter than three months.

But be careful: The minimum wage only applies to adults. If you are a minor, the internship company is not obliged to pay you the minimum wage, even for a longer period.

School and compulsory internship

If your internship is not a voluntary internship, but is prescribed by the school or university, you are unfortunately not so lucky. The statutory minimum wage regulations do not apply to this type of internship, no matter how long it lasts. Companies are therefore not obliged to pay their interns salaries if it is a compulsory internship.

Find your internship

You can find the right student internship for you quickly and easily from the thousands of internship vacancies in our search engine.

Free internships for students

No entitlement to internship remuneration - what now?

Just because payment is not required by law for your internship does not mean that you will not receive any payment at all. It just means that it doesn't have to be as high as the minimum wage, but it can be natural. It is relatively rare that you are not paid for your work at all, especially with student internships. Most companies pay a small fee. For voluntary internships this is less than three months and compulsory internships on average around 940 euros per month. However, the remuneration depends on the one hand on your qualifications - a student in the middle of his studies will certainly get more money than an 8th grade student - and on the other hand on the size of the internship company. Here, too, top companies will pay more than small and medium-sized companies.

To be sure if and how much you get, you should get the Internship contract take a closer look, because all regulations regarding earnings, working hours or even vacation are recorded there.

And even if the employer does not pay you a wage: As an intern, you shouldn't be about making big money, but valuable work experience to collect that will help you in your professional life and will take you a step forward on the career ladder.