The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Finance in August 2018 jointly issued the Regulations on College and University Work-Study Internships, which took immediate effect. The regulations supersede the previous regulations on the same subject from 2007 and apply to all on-campus and off-campus work-study internships arranged through the college or university. The new regulations do not apply to internships independently arranged by students themselves, nor do they apply to vocational internships arranged for students of vocational schools as part of their vocational training (which are regulated by a separate set of regulations). Rather, these regulations apply to internships arranged with a college or university so that students may earn money to support themselves during their studies.

According to the new regulations, colleges and universities are encouraged to establish and develop on-campus work-study internships for students and are permitted to develop off-campus work-study internships for students. Off-campus work-study internships should be a collaboration between a college or university and a local company. All work-study activity should be managed by the college or university work-study service organization.

The new regulations place the following requirements on off-campus work-study positions:

Application: Any company seeking to establish a work-study internship must apply to the college or university work-study service organization.

Tripartite agreement: A tripartite agreement must be concluded between the company, the work-study service organization and the student. The agreement must specify the student’s compensation, each party’s rights and obligations, methods to handle injuries suffered during work-study, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

Student protections. The work-study internship may not involve poisonous, harmful or dangerous products that could harm the student’s physical or mental health.

Ethnic minorities: The company must respect the manners and customs of ethnic minority students when arranging work-study.

Working time: In principle, total working time for the work-study internship should not exceed 8 hours per week and 40 hours per month. Working time can be extended appropriately during winter and summer vacations.

Compensation: Compensation for the work-study internship is subject to the tripartite agreement, but may not be lower than the minimum wage where the college or university is located.

Business Law Digest is compiled with the assistance of Baker McKenzie. Readers should not act on this information without seeking professional legal advice. You can contact Baker McKenzie by e-mailing Danian Zhang (Shanghai) at