Press Release
September 10, 2019


"Internship is for students and young people to learn more about the workplace and to deepen their craft. Internship is not an excuse for employers to take advantage of cheap or free labor." This was the statement made by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday, as she pushed for a national legislation to secure interns' rights and welfare.

"Dahil walang employer-employee relationship, maraming nagiging kaso ng exploitation at kawalan ng professional growth", she said in filing Senate Bill No. 994 or the Interns' Rights and Welfare Bill. The proposed measure lays down the responsibilities of host training establishments or HTEs to their interns, with the end view of establishing a proper and relevant learning experience for them.

"Dapat ang internship, may professional growth talaga. Hindi yung pinagtitimpla ka lang ng kape o nakatunganga buong araw", the Senator from Akbayan said. The said bill requires any employer who chooses to host interns to come up with a contract and program that details the professional training of interns.

Senate Bill No. 994 seeks to strengthen schools' vetting process for HTEs. "Schools have a responsibility to accredit reputable HTEs for their students and to ensure that students do not undergo internship in companies with dubious internship programs", said Hontiveros. "Hindi pwedeng ipag-intern mo yung mga estudyante sa mga kumpanyang may questionable labor practices na pwedeng maglagay sa kanila sa alanganin," she added.

Putting a cap on internship hours is also one of the proposed measure's concerns. For the government sector, internship should not exceed 300 hours, nor last for more than 6 months. For industry-based internships that are more technical in nature like those in the engineering or health-allied fields, internship hours are capped at 660 hours per semester, which is equivalent to 15 units per term. The proposed measure also protects all interns from any form of workplace abuse and harassment. In addition, Senate Bill No. 994 contains the following key provisions:

(1) providing basic benefits and remuneration (75% of the prevailing minimum wage in the region for private companies and 75% of Step 1 Salary Grade 1 for interns in the public sector);

(2) appropriating funds for government agencies to host interns in order to promote public and civil service among young people; and

(3) a grievance mechanism to address any violation of basic interns' rights.

Hontiveros said that she knows of many good companies taking in interns and really contributing to interns' development as professionals. "These model companies implement a good internship program, secure that they have a good working environment and helpful mentors, and sometimes even absorb them as regular employees afterwards," she detailed.

"Preparing our young people for the workforce includes a viable internship program that centers on their professional growth", said the Akbayan Senator. "Our country's policy on interns reflects how we value humane and decent work. It is time to put a stop to internship horror stories. It is time to stop the abuse and exploitation of interns as part of our education and labor policies," Hontiveros concluded.

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