Creation of Laws Protecting Interns

Creation of Laws Protecting Interns

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Maithili Ambavane started this petition to Minister of The Ministry of Labour and Employment

Labour rights and the ‘Internship culture’ in India Clearly don’t go hand in hand. To avoid enabling a boom of unpaid internship and copyright infringement of interns it is very important to introduce a specialised statute defining the role of an ‘Intern’ and their rights. 

Interns in India do not have any legal protection against exploitation, abuse or even a specific number of hours an intern can work. Most internships come without any written document or contract that could be signed by both the parties to come to an agreement on certain terms and conditions. More so, in most internships the "learning" part is always missing even though it is the core purpose of internships. 

The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 does make a mention of apprentices but applies only to industrial establishments that employ 100 or more workers. Interns aren’t even entitled to get minimum wages. The Minimum Wages Act, 1948, covers mainly the unorganised primary sector, meaning interns aren't even entitled to a minimum wage. 

For a country like India where there is cut-throat competition and internships pave a way to climb the ladder in career for maximum college going students, the need of basic laws protecting interns in imperative to avoid the mental and physical abuse faced by interns. 

So here are a few of the demands that need to be fulfilled for better safety of interns:

1. Maximum hours of work to be stated as per industry laws in India 

2. Minimum wage 

3. A mandatory written contract/terms and agreement between interns and the concerned company 

4. A guarantee by companies to provide necessary training and/or mentorship to the intern to enhance learning experience

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