My work-study program is not going well: what can I do?

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The work-study contract is a real employment contract that is governed by rules that the student must respect. Sometimes, during your work-study program, the period in the company does not go as planned and the student encounters difficulties. What are the possible solutions when the work-study program does not go well?

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My work placement is not going as planned

The work-study contract is designed as an employment contract subject to rules that thestudent and the company must respect. For a variety of reasons, sometimes the alternation does not go well. What to do? The first thing to do is to identify the source of the problem and then encourage communication. There is probably a reason why the student breaks his or her work-study contract. It is important to identify the problem before making any decisions.

Sometimes, the alternation may not go well or may be difficult for various reasons:

  • missions that are not very rewarding or that are not part of the educational courses;
  • work disproportionate to the time spent in attendance;
  • the company asks the alternating student to work outside the legal time limit in an excessive manner
  • bad understanding with the team or absence of the company tutor ;
  • too much pressure.

It could also be that the problems are caused by the student himself, without him necessarily realizing it: lateness, laxity, bad attitude, not adapting to the company’s culture, work not meeting the company’s expectations. First and foremost, the goal is to ensure that you are not the cause of the problem before placing the blame on the company. Are the assignments given in relation to the academic content of the training? Are the company’s instructions respected by both parties? Whatever the cause of the inconvenience, the main objective is for the student to continue his or her work-study program, regardless of the type of contract, professionalization or apprenticeship .

The intervention of your school referent, in order to clarify the situation, could be a solution. This education and employment law professional has seen many similar situations. By focusing on communication to clarify the situation, his experience can help find a solution that works for both parties.

In spite of all these attempts, if no solution is found, what should be done if the student wishes to leave the company by any means?

Terminating a work-study contract

In practice, there are ways out when the alternation goes wrong. There are four possible ways to break a contract:

  • Termination by the employee: by resignation, retirement, termination by court order;
  • termination by the employer: dismissal for misconduct, for personal reasons, for economic reasons;
  • termination by mutual agreement or “amicably”;
  • conventional rupture.

The solutions put forward vary according to the situation experienced and the period for the termination of the work-study contract.

During the trial period

The work-study student may decide to break his or her apprenticeship or professionalization contract during the trial period. The trial period for a work-study student is normally two months. This is more than enough time for everyone to see if a situation can lead to a possible conflict. Both parties have the possibility to stop their respective collaboration without any notice and without any justification.

Breaking a work-study contract after the trial period

At the end of the trial period, anamicable agreement between the two parties (the student and his or her employer) is considered. The contract termination document must highlight: the contact information of each party, the effective date and the reason for the termination of the contract as well as the signature of both parties. By mutual agreement, this is the most appropriate way out when the alternation can no longer be successful under good conditions.

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international student in an inseec msc and mba program

Resigning from a work-study contract

The year 2018 marks the end of the days when the alternator was not allowed to quit. If he or she decides to resign, the work-study student must call on a learning mediator in the sector that oversees his or her field:

  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI);
  • The Chamber of Crafts and Trades (CMA);
  • the chamber of agriculture.

In order to take a leave of absence from the host company, the alternating student must notify his or her employer by mail with an acknowledgement of receipt. According to Article R6222-23 of the French Labor Code, this letter must be sent at least two months before the end of the contract. The letter must state the reason for the early termination of the contract, with the date on which it takes effect. The work-study contract will then be terminated within seven days of receiving the letter.

Termination by legal action

If the employer does not respect its obligations, the alternating student is entitled to refer the matter to the Conseil de prudhomme. There are several possible cases: non-payment of sums due, physical or verbal violence, working hours not respected, etc. The concern with this last option is that the alternating student is obliged to continue working until the court decision is rendered.

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Updated 2 August 2023