A Guide to Apprentice Employment Rights
When you join a company as an apprentice your employer is taking you on as an employee. This means all apprentices have the same rights as employees of other kinds, and employers cannot treat apprentices differently in a number of significant ways.
Apprenticeship schemes are designed to give people the training they need to learn a new job role, but they also come with a regular wage, holiday entitlement and other employment right such as fair working hours and rest breaks. Let’s look more closely at these key factors so you can be sure your employer is treating you properly as an apprentice.
Apprentices are paid a regular wage throughout their apprenticeship training. This money is usually paid monthly or weekly dependent on the employer and like all employees you will pay tax and National Insurance on your earnings.
The National Minimum wage rate for apprentices aged 16 to 18 is currently £4.30 an hour. For apprentices over 19 and in their first year the minimum wage is also £4.30 an hour. Once the first year is complete apprentices over 19 should be paid the correct National Minimum or National Living Wage rate for your age group.
Some employers choose to pay more than the minimum amount, but these are the basic wages you are entitled to.
Working Hours and Rest Breaks
There are laws in place to protect how many hours people can be made to work at any given time. 48 hours is the limit for an average working week and this drops to 40 hours for people aged 18 and under. You may find you work more than the set number of hours some weeks, but over a 17-week period it needs to average out to the legal limits.
All employees are entitled to at least one rest break of 20 minutes for every six hours that they work. Employees must also have at least 11 hours of in between shifts. You can choose to work more by opting out of the 48-hour week but if you have not explicitly opted out, you cannot be asked to work more hours.
Apprentices are entitled to a minimum of 1.5 days of paid holiday for every month of training. Most apprentices are also entitled to bank holidays off. You can check your contract of employment to see your holiday entitlement.
All apprentices are employees, and all employees have the right to be treated fairly in all aspects of work. This means regular pay, holiday entitlement and appropriate rest breaks and days off. It also means you should not face any discrimination or danger at work. There are laws protecting employees in terms of health and safety as well discrimination and your employer should have written policies you can consult on both issues.
While not all apprentices become full-time employees of their training company, for the time they are with them they have the same rights and protections.