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In recent years, the raising of the awareness of CSR issues, which promotes the enterprise to comply with the related regulations and meet the end buyer’s requirements, permeates the whole supply chain management system. As a fair and reliable service provider, SGS has often been commissioned to conduct the audit of various indexes based on the beneficiary’s requirements, such as the end buyer, investor and etc. In the past, it was found that some suppliers’ misunderstanding or making light of the management of student workers could lead to audit failure due to transgress the law and regulations and go against the end buyer and investor’s promise. The supplier is supposed to pay close attention to the student worker, so as to avoid failures in the social audit.

What is student worker? It refers to student who has been employed as a worker.  At present, the Chinese laws and regulations have different rules about different preceding concepts.  The enterprise should differentiate the applicable management rules based on whether to include “arranged by the vocational school legally” and responsibilities of vocational school, enterprise and student.

In terms of social compliance requirements about student worker, there are many errors of enterprise, for example: treat the student worker as cheap labour and drive down their salary, let the student work overtime, don’t arrange standard induction training, or assign high-risk job to student and etc, which could cause audit failure.  It is worth noted that intern and part-work are very different employment ways. According to “Notice of forbidden schools to organize or introduce young workers illegally” from the Ministry of Education, all the student worker should be or over 16 years old.  The national and local laws and regulations also specify rules of student worker in terms of labour agreement, working hours, training, reward, corporate accountability and supervisory authorities and etc.

1) "Secondary Vocational School Student Internship Regulation” gives a definition of intern that is  the secondary vocational school to organize student to do teaching practice or post practice in enterprise to accomplish teaching aims and plans. Intern is one of the teaching activities; thereby the school should be responsible for students during internship.  In fact, Internship and internship unit are not labour relations. According to the laws and regulations, the school, student and internship unit, three parties should sign internship agreement.  In addition, the school is forbidden to arrange the freshman take internships outside the school; the employing unit should pay remuneration to internship and can’t deduct and default the remuneration; and regular working hours for all internships shall be no more than 8 hours per day.

2) In view of “High school student work-study regulation” issued by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance in July, 2007, work-study program is social practice which students take part in after class in collective form to improve learning and living conditions through work and get paid.  The employing units should apply to work-study organization if they would like to hire the student, and pay the salary no less than the minimum wage requested by local government or related department based on three-party agreement between the employing unit, school and student. At the same time, the employing unit is forbidden to assign student any harmful, poisonous or dangerous job.

3) Students work outside campus without permission during holiday, which would not be regarded as student worker and shall comply with General Labour Contract.

Notices about national vocational school to implement student internship insurance programme from Ministry of Education office is to guarantee students’ safety and legal rights. Each vocational institution shall purchase “student internship insurance” for students, which should contains common risks during internship and some special risks such as accident caused by unfamiliar with production and trip between school and company.

SGS specialist remind all the employing units: In order to meet the social audit’s requirements, the employing unit should treat the student worker differently as student worker is a kind of employment form. The enterprises are advised to make the related record of student worker and guide the work, avoiding the hands-off management.  For example, the enterprise should be completely responsible for identifying the legitimacy of vocational school; will enterprise offer the insurance to the student worker; mark clearly for the student worker, it is easy for enterprise to distinguish them with other workers and ensure the student worker not assigned in prohibited jobs; It is forbidden to assign student worker go on the night shift or work overtime and etc.  With the enhancement of public awareness, a variety of international organizations and conventions requests more strictly and more high standard for labor protection than laws and regulations. And different social audit standards have different focuses on student worker issue, which it has overlapping with the requirement of Labor Contract and makes extensibility requirement as well.

Except for student worker, there is another employment form of enterprise which is called “Apprentice”. It specifically all levels of government provide an employment support for those students who has graduate from the school, and organize them go to enterprise for the training. “Intern” and “Apprentice”, the biggest difference is apprentice has graduate from the school and no longer has the school registration.  In 2006, many departments of central government were joined up to issue “Notice on setting up Employment System for College Graduates”, request local government build the related bases.  In fact, employment system is a support measure which promotes graduates to get a job. The apprentice and the employing unit should sign an agreement that the apprentice’s basic living allowance should no less than the local minimum wage standard during the apprentice, the apprentice should service for the employing unit 3~6 months and not exceed 1 year, and the unit should purchase the personal accidence insurance for all the apprentices and etc. Thus, we should build up the standardized management for apprentice according to the related law and regulations of the employment apprentice.

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SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 80,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,650 offices and laboratories around the world.