Interview about the minimum wage for interns

Since January 1st 2015, the Minimum Wage Law applies in Germany. This means that a minimum wage of 8.50 Euro per hour must be paid. The introduction of this law was intensely discussed and the minimum wage for internships was the subject of controversial debates. Hence, the question arose, what implications the Minimum Wage Law has for internships at Roche. Therefore, Birgit Harbauer, HR Specialist Recruiting, answered some of our questions in an interview. She is responsible for internships and final theses at Roche in Mannheim

According to the Minimum Wage Law, all voluntary internships lasting longer than three months have to be compensated with the minimum wage. How was the law taken at Roche?

Roche in Germany has decided to pay minimum wage from the first day of the internship, for all internships lasting longer than three months. Hereby, we do not differentiate between voluntary and mandatory internships.

This is more than required by law, right?

True. We consciously decided not to differentiate between voluntary and mandatory internships, because first, both do the same job and second we want similar jobs to be compensated similarly. This wide-ranging regulation helps to positively distinguish us from our competitors.

What about internships with a duration of up to three months?

For short-term internships the compensation remains as before: based on the hitherto obtained university degree, plus rental cost allowances.

You are also responsible for students who write their thesis at Roche. How does this affect them?

For thesis students we proceed as previously done, because writing an academic paper is not seen as a working responsibility. Therefor the Minimum Wage Law does not apply.

A very important question is whether the introduction of the minimum wage has an impact on the duration of internships at Roche?

No, not at all. The duration of the internship does not depend on whether or not minimum wage is paid, but rather the topics and assignments of the planned internship. Therefore, we did not limit the duration of internships to three months, like other companies! As a result, ourselves as well as our interns remain flexible, for example to connect a mandatory and a voluntary internship. However, the maximum length of an internship at Roche is usually six months.

As a last question: is there anything else, you would like to mention?

Well, Roche offers internships and theses for all areas of studies and at all Roche sites in Germany. The students are able to gain practical experience and insight into the working life. For Roche, students bring new perspectives and ideas.

Thank you, Birgit Harbauer, for your sympathetic and informative responses!

Tags: Career Blog, Germany