Working with a work placement contract

A work placement/internship contract is a three-party contract with three signatures on it: from an educational institution, a work placement organisation and a student.

A contract between two of these parties is not an internship contract. If you as a former student have a work placement contract with a work placement institution and there is no educational institution involved you don't have a work placement contract. Often, you'll receive an expense allowance and formally you're a volunteer.

Checklist work placement contract?

Read the contract carefully and check whether it clearly defines the rights and obligations of all three parties. Note the following points:

  1. Activities
    What will my activities be; are these interesting and/or instructive enough for me ?
  2. Guidance
    Is there enough guidance offered from the work placement organisation and the educational institution? Who is supervising you?
  3. Review
    Who is reviewing, when, how and for how many credits?
  4. Insurances
    Is the work placement organisation well insured:
    - for damage caused to others by yourself? Your own liability does not cover such damage. The financial amounts can be high.
    - for damage caused to me by others
    Occasionally the education institution takes these obligations if the work placement organisation is a freelancer.
  5. Dates and hours
    Dates of the beginning and end of the internship, holidays, hours, (travel) expenses, obligations during illness, secrecy
  6. Financial compensation
    Agreements on expenses and travel expenses
  7. Confidentiality (possibly)
  8. Special circumstances
    Under which special circumstances can I stop? Who can I dicuss this with?

Is a work placement contract an employment contract?

There are differences between a work placement contract and an employment contract. The most important ones are:

  • the work placement organisation does not pay a salary. Often you do receive a work placement fee, but this is not required by law unless otherwise specified in the collective labour agreement of the internship organisation.
  • the student cannot be fired. However, the contract can be dissolved. 
  • the student doesn’t build up entitlement to employers insurances such as WW and WIA 

However, it sometimes happens that the work placement organisation does pay the student a salary (agreeing on a gross amount, of which a net amount is paid). That means that your work placement contract is also an employment contract.