Senator Risa Hontiveros has filed a bill that seeks to secure interns’ rights and welfare.

Senate Bill No. 994 or the Interns’ Rights and Welfare Bill specifies “the responsibilities of host training establishments (HTEs) to their interns, with the end view of establishing a proper and relevant learning experience for them.”

Internship, according to Hontiveros, “is for students and young people to learn more about the workplace and to deepen their craft.”

“It is not an excuse for employers to take advantage of cheap or free labor.Dahil walang employer-employee relationship, maraming nagiging kaso ng exploitation at kawalan ng professional growth,” she said.

“Dapat ang internship, may professional growth talaga. Hindi yung pinagtitimpla ka lang ng kape o nakatunganga buong araw,” Hontiveros stressed.

The proposed measure “requires any employer who chooses to host interns to come up with a contract and program that details the professional training of interns.”

It also “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.

The bill also puts a cap on internship hours where internships in the government sector must not exceed 300 hours or last over six months while those that are industry-based and more technical in nature are capped at 600 hours per semester, or equivalent to 15 units per term.

It also protects all interns from any form of workplace abuse and harassment. In addition, Senate Bill No. 994 contains the following key provisions:

*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);

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

*a grievance mechanism to address any violation of basic interns’ rights.

Hontiveros said the “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.”IMT