Law no. 176/2018 on internships (the "Internship Law") recently entered into force in Romania. The Internship Law regulates internship arrangements, which were not previously regulated in Romania.

The Internship Law applies to all legal entities which run internship programs that are designed to help interns develop their professional abilities, familiarise themselves with the industry, and facilitate transition from the education system to the labour market.

The Internship Law contains the following limitations aimed at protecting interns:

  • host organisations may only have a number of interns equal to or less than 5% of their total number of employees (smaller organisations with up to 20 employees are permitted a maximum of 2 interns);
  • host organisations may enter an internship agreement with the same intern only once (an exception applies if the intern participates in a different internship program within the company);
  • internship contracts must not exceed 6 months in duration;
  • internship agreements with persons over 18 years old can be for maximum 40 hours/week (interns under 18 years of age are limited to 30 hours/week and not more than 6 hours/day);
  • interns are entitled to an internship fee, which cannot be less than 50% of the national minimum wage imposed by law;
  • interns are not permitted to perform overtime work;
  • all interns must be supervised by an internship supervisor; supervisors may oversee a maximum of 3 interns at a time;
  • companies may not rehire persons previously retained under an employment contract as interns (internships that are entered to avoid hiring an employee will be deemed null and void);
  • interns cannot be hired to perform manual labour specific to unqualified workers, or work in harmful or hazardous conditions.

All internship arrangements must be documented in a written internship contract, in Romanian, entered not later than the working day prior to the intern’s commencement of work. Host-organisations must provide interns with a copy of the internship agreement prior to commencement of the internship program.

Internship contracts must be registered in a yet-to-be-created electronic “Registry of Internship Contracts”. Once the labour authorities make the online tool available, online registration must be made not later than the working day prior to the intern’s commencement of work. Until the online registration tool becomes available, host-organisations must create an internal “Registry of Internship Contracts” and record all internship contracts internally.

The Internship Law also contains a number of obligations on host-organisations related to supervising, training and evaluating interns.

Finally, the Internship Law incentivises companies to hire interns; host organisations that enter into employment contracts with interns are eligible to receive 4,586 RON (approximately 1,000 EUR) for each intern hired, provided that: the employment contract is entered within 60 days from the finalisation of the internship contract and that employment remains in force for an interrupted period of at least 24 months.