By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of the Sofia Globe
Bulgaria’s Parliament passed at second reading on March 12 amendments to the country’s Labour Code that, for the first time, regulates internships and the relationship between employers and interns.
The amended Labour Code stipulates that only people aged under 29 with no previous experience in their field of study can be hired as interns.
Employers are required to sign a labour contract with the intern, which has to be for a period between six months and one year. Such an internship contract can be signed only once with the same person, according to the amendments.
Since the goal of an internship is to acquire “practical skills in [the intern’s] chosen field of study,” the employers have to designate a mentor – another employee with a similar profession to that of the intern, who has to have at least three years of experience in that field – or serve as mentors themselves.
The mentor’s own labour contract has to be amended with an annex that will list the mentor’s duties for the duration of the internship, as well as how much time they are required to spend on such duties.
Upon completion of the internship, the employer is required to issue the intern a letter of recommendation, one that “confirm the internship’s results”, which the applicant can use in applying for another job. This letter has to be issued no later than 14 days after the expiration of the internship contract.
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