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I am a master's student, part of a two-years dual degree: first year in Germany, second and last year in France.

For my last semester, I am required to do a 6 months internship and thesis in a company, it is my responsibility to find the internship. I found a very exciting opportunity to work on natural language processing for a company that is fully remote (the company is based in Europe).

Now, the French university has to approve my internship (also from a legal perspective) but they say that a fully-remote internship is prohibited by French law. Only a fully on-premise or hybrid internship is considered legal.

If what they are saying is true, what is the rationale for this law? Can exceptions be made somehow?

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  • Do you know the title of the law they are referring to? This may help with giving you a credible answer
    – Rick
    Nov 15 '21 at 11:50
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    @RockApe I recall a mention of the Cherpion Law
    – Nope
    Nov 15 '21 at 12:29
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    directetudiant.com/actualite/stage/2807/… It seems that the issue is the law permitting internship (with less rights than normal employees) requires that the internship must allow the intern to be trained in the working environment. While theoretically possible, it could be hard to justify a fully remote internship.
    – xngtng
    Nov 15 '21 at 18:41
  • You should ask the uni to say what the law says
    – Nancy
    Nov 17 '21 at 9:42
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Article 40 of the Cherpion Law of July 28, 2011 (L. n°2011-893, JO 29 juill.) amended Articles L. 8241-1 and L. 8241-2 of le Code du Travail.  It did not mention - let alone restrict - remote/home working for interns. Instead, it:

introduces measures that strengthen the legal framework regulating internships. The new law states that internships:

  • cannot consist of tasks that could be undertaken by a worker in a permanent position within the organisation;

  • must be established through a tripartite contract signed by the employer, the intern and their educational establishment;

  • must offer training to individuals and be integrated into the intern’s degree or other training. Source

The only reference to the intern's (i.e. employee's) place of work can be found in 8241-2, which states:

The non-profit labor loan between companies requires:

...

An amendment to the employment contract, signed by the employee, specifying the work entrusted to the user company, the hours and the place of performance of the work, as well as the specific characteristics of the workstation.

Note that these two provisions in le Code were further amended in 2015 and 2017 respectively to the versions currently in force with no change to the quoted requirement.

Also, I'm not familiar with the current COVID-19 restrictions in France but I find it odd that remote working is not being considered. See the Université de Paris FAQs for an example of where it is being implemented:

Internships outside of Université de Paris can take place or continue on face-to-face basis, however, only when working remotely is not possible or relevant.

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  • Okay, so the employment contract needs to mention: place of performance and characteristics of the workstation. It does not suggest that having "place of performance" = "remote" and "workstation provided" = "none, the intern needs to have access to its own equipment" is against the law?
    – Nope
    Nov 16 '21 at 9:05

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