As increasing numbers of college students are joining in the job hunt every year, and many of them are now choosing to work as interns before graduation in the hopes that the experience will give them a competitive edge.
However, there is no special law protecting their interests since employers often refuse to sign contracts due to the short period of employment, excluding the interns from the reached of the Labor Law, the Legal Daily reported.
Law experts have long called for legislation clarifying the rights and obligations of student interns, employers, and schools, which in most cases act as liaisons between the students and the employers.
A 2007 legal case involving a student injured on the job has intensified their appeals.
24-year-old Zhang Ying, a senior at Shaanxi University of Chinese Medicine in Luoyang, Henan Province, interned at a local drug production company to gain experience and was badly burned in an explosion in the company's workshop.
The company agreed to pay 100,000 yuan for emergency medical treatment, but Zhang was disabled in the accident and needs another estimated 160,000 yuan to cover long-term treatment. After a liability dispute, Zhang filed a lawsuit against the company.
Zhang eventually won the case, but the incident sounded an alarm for those considering internships.
According to a survey, nearly 30 percent of student interns have been injured during an internship and have had little legal recourse. Only 14 percent said they would resort to legal means to resolve disputes under the current situation, the Legal Daily reported.
Southwest University of Political Science and Law requires its students to purchase insurance before beginning an internship, a professor in charge of the internship program there said.
Judges also emphasized the importance of drafting a special law to protect interns and regulate employers.(2008-08-19 06:46:58 CRIENGLISH.com)