Traineeship proposal arrives from Commission

Action finally being taken by the European Commission. 


After much discussion and years of waiting, last week the European Commission unveiled its “Traineeships Directive”, seeking to ensure that trainees are afforded the same protections and rights of their colleagues, while combating regular employment relationships disguised as traineeships.  

Having twice provided feedback to Social Partner consultations in 2023, and having repeatedly called for adequate protection for those undertaking employment as trainees, we are happy to see the Commission finally addressing the systemic issues facing trainees throughout the Single Market.  

We particularly welcome the prominent role for trade unions as worker’s representatives, guarantees that trainees will not be treated in a less favourable manner than comparable regular employees in the same establishment (including in terms of pay) and the introduction of measures that will provide more transparency on key indicators within these working relationships. No company should operate a two-tiered system, with all workers deserving of a quality job.  

“Often at the beginning of their career, trainees are routinely left in vulnerable positions, without the experience or outlet to improve their conditions. They must be allowed equal participation in the workforce

While the introduction of European legislation is desperately needed, the Commission’s proposal must firmly place the burden of responsibility on employers and Member States. The current text will leave a disproportionate volume of implementation work at the door of already underfunded and understaffed labour authorities, without provisions to ensure they can provide the protections afforded to workers within the draft text.  

In addition, managers in the workplace, many of whom will be the relevant contact point for trainees within organisations, must be afforded specialised training on how to best carry out their necessary duties.  

Reacting to the draft text, Eurocadres President Nayla Glaise stated: “An initiative to help trainees secure their rights, wherever they work, is long overdue. We welcome the Commission’s proposal and have already begun to seek amendments which can improve the text. With the deadline before the elections looming, we must move quickly.  

Often at the beginning of their career, trainees are routinely left in vulnerable positions, without the experience or outlet to improve their conditions. Be it pay, hours, tasks or training, there must be a uniform standard on what a traineeship encompasses, and safeguards to ensure they meet the highest standards. Trainees often face a wide array of abuses, with many contracted for periods exceeding 6 months, and becoming full-time workers in respect to their responsibilities, but without the above key elements (including a sufficient learning angle) providing the traineeship experience many were promised.   

Trainees must be allowed equal participation in the workforce, and we will immediately begin to find ways to improve the directive”.  

Eurocadres will continue our work with MEPs to ensure a final text that delivers the necessary parity for those in traineeships.