What is the duration of a work-study contract?

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The work-study contract consists of alternating theoretical training in an establishment and practical training in a company. There are two types of work-study contracts: the apprenticeship contract and the professionalization contract. Both contracts can be concluded for a limited period or as part of a permanent contract. What is the duration of a work-study contract? How is it fixed? Can the work-study contract be extended?

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The duration of an apprenticeship contract

The apprenticeship contract is a special employment contract. It can be concluded for a limited period (CDL) or for an indefinite period (CDI). The duration of an apprenticeship contract is equivalent to the duration of the training cycle that prepares for the qualification that is the subject of the contract. It also varies according to the level of qualification and the type of job.

Thus, if the apprenticeship contract is of limited duration, it is carried out over the duration of the training cycle leading to the qualification. The minimum duration is 6 months. But it can vary from 6 months to 3 years depending on the type of title that the student must obtain, including :

  • A title of the same level and related to a first diploma or title obtained during a previous apprenticeship contract;
  • A qualification lower than a diploma or title already acquired ;
  • A title partly obtained during the validation of acquired experience (VAE);
  • A title acquired under another status.

In exceptional cases, the duration of the contract may be extended or shortened. It can be done under an agreement signed between the training center, the employer and the apprentice.

In the case of a permanent contract , it begins with an apprenticeship period. This period is equivalent to the training cycle followed. At the end of the period, the contractual relationship between the employer and the employee will be governed by the provisions of the Labor Code relating to the permanent contract under common law. The duration of the apprenticeship period varies from 1 to 3 years. It is 4 years for people with disabilities.

Breach and extension of the apprenticeship contract

The employer and the student may interrupt the contract. This breach of contract must occur before the end of the first 45 days of practical training in the company, even if they are not consecutive.The apprenticeship contract can be extended for a maximum of one year. It is done in case of failure to obtain the diploma or in case of a new orientation. The student can therefore repeat the year.

The duration of a professionalization contract

The professionalization contract is a contract between a company and a student. It allows the latter, within the framework of continuing education, to obtain a professional qualification. This work-study contract can be a fixed-term or permanent contract.

The duration of the professionalization contract in CDD

In the form of a fixed-term contract, the professionalization contract has a specific duration. It can be renewed once. Thus, the contract can be concluded for a period of 6 to 12 months.

However, the duration of the fixed-term contract can be extended to 36 months for certain people, including :

  • a job seeker over 26 years old, registered for more than one year with the French employment agency;
  • a beneficiary of the RSA or Active Solidarity Income, and the AAH or Disabled Adult Allowance;
  • a person leaving a single integration contract.

The duration of the professionalization contract in permanent employment

In the case of permanent contracts, the duration of the professionalization contract is between 6 and 12 months. It is between 15 and 25% of the professionalization action and cannot be less than 150 hours.

By agreement between the principals concerned, this period may be extended beyond 36 months for: young people without qualifications, recipients of RSA, ASS, AAH and former holders of the single contract. The student may complete two professionalization contracts with the same employer as long as the second contract is aimed at obtaining a higher qualification.

Breach and extension of the professionalization contract

The work-study contract can be terminated under the conditions of a permanent contract. It can be terminated at the discretion of the employer or the employee, or by means of a conventional termination agreement. The party wishing to terminate the contract is therefore required to respect the required notice periods.

The professionalization contract can be extended. This opportunity is offered to the candidate in case of failure in the evaluation tests. It is also valid in case of maternity, work accident, professional illness or failure of the training organization. Thus, the work-study contract combines teaching in a training organization, such as INSEEC, and practical periods in one or more companies. Consequently, each professional branch, together with the centers and the alternating student, can determine the terms of application. In the absence of an agreement, the terms and conditions set out in the law apply.

Updated 2 August 2023