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Working Hours and Holidays

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 12 Dec 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Holiday Entitlement Working Hours

While the main focus of working as an apprentice is to train, gain experience and a qualification, you are also an employee and entitled to certain rights. Just because you are young or may not have had much work experience does not mean your employer can treat you any differently or give you less holiday entitlement.

It is important to know what your rights are so that you know you are not being made to work too many hours or being given too little holiday. Check the details of your contract and don’t feel forced to work too much.

Holiday Entitlement

When working as an apprentice you have the right to the same holiday entitlement as other employees. The standard holiday entitlement for employee in the UK is 4 weeks off each year. Your employer may offer more than this or increase it when you have been their longer, but this minimum still applies.

Check your contract to find out what it says about holiday entitlement and make sure you keep a tally of how many days you take off to make sure you have been able to take it all.

Working Hours Directive

The working hours directive covers how many hours an employee should have to work per week. The amount is set at an average of 48 hours. This means that you may have to work more than this one week, but it should be balanced out by working less in another. Your average is worked out over a 17 week period and you cannot be forced to work beyond this limit unless you choose to opt out.

Rest Breaks

The working hours directive also provides strict guidelines on rest breaks during the day and breaks between periods of work. If you have to work six hours or more then you must be allowed at least a 20 minute rest break, though your employer can tell you when you must take it. You are also entitled to at least 11 hours free between each working day and 24 hours clear of work each week, or 48 hours clear each fortnight.

Young Workers

If you have left school but are under the age of 18 then there are slightly different rules. As a young worker your working hours cannot be longer than 40 hours per week rather than the normal 48. Also, your employer must give you at least 12 hours off between shifts and at least 24 hours clear from working each week. Make sure that your employer is aware of these entitlements and speak up if they try to flout them.

It is important that you understand what working hours your employer can make you work and what holiday entitlement you have. As an apprentice, you are also an employee and therefore the working hours directive applies to you. This means that you can take 4 weeks’ holiday a year and not be made to work more than and average of 48 hours a week. If you are between 16 and 18 then there are extra entitlements that apply to young workers.

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[Add a Comment]
@Nikki b - most monthly salary workers are paid the same way. There are some longer and some shorter weeks in a month, the salary is generally averaged out to take this into account.
Biff - 14-Dec-17 @ 2:43 PM
My daughters is in an apprenticeship at a hair salon,she gets paid on the last Wednesday of every month so some months go into a five week month but the salon are only paying her for 4 weeks which means she has worked 120 hours unpaid since being there.is this right and are they allowed to do this.thankyou
Nikki b - 12-Dec-17 @ 9:53 PM
I’m 17, and I have an apprenticeship at a pharmacy, only started in late October... I get every Monday off, I work 8:30am till 6pm Tuesday till Friday and then 8:30am till 12pm on Saturdays. Christmas falls on a Monday this year which is when I’m meant to have a day off anyway, and I’ll be getting the 26th off too, but seeing as it’s a bank holiday on a Monday am I entitled to an extra day off if that makes sence?
Aj232 - 4-Dec-17 @ 6:33 PM
My 17 year old son is in the second year of an engineering apprenticeship.He works four days a week and goes to college one day a week.He had been doing overtime at work over the last couple of months but has now been told he can only do 2½ hours overtime a week.I know that as a 17 year old he is only allowed to work 40 hours a week, but was wondering if college hours count towards this total.
BubblyAl - 17-Nov-17 @ 7:58 PM
craiglyn - Your Question:
I am a 19 yr old first year apprentice painter and decorator with a hotel resort and have been told I am to work on Christmas Day.Is this correct, can I be told to do this?

Our Response:
If your contract says that you may have to work Bank Holidays including Christmas Day, then there is little you can do about this. If the terms of your contract states you don't work bank holidays, then you can challenge your employer regarding this decision.
AnApprenticeship - 16-Nov-17 @ 12:02 PM
stuart - Your Question:
Hi, my son started his apprenticeship is July and has been advised he gets 20 days holiday per year but that includes all the bank holidays. Are they able to do that as even the GOV site contradicts itself by saying its 20 days plus bank hols but then states the employer can include bank holidays in the 20 days.Thanks

Our Response:
Bank holidays can be included in the 5.6 week entitlement. The minimum statutory paid annual leave entitlement for employees is 5.6 weeks’ per year. This entitles an employee working five days a week to 28 days’ paid annual leave. Part-time workers or workers who work less than full-time hours are legally entitled to the same amount of holidays as full-time employees, but thiers is calculated on a pro-rata basis. I hope this helps answer your question.
AnApprenticeship - 16-Nov-17 @ 9:17 AM
I am a 19 yr old first year apprentice painter and decorator with a hotel resort and have been told I am to work on Christmas Day. Is this correct, can I be told to do this?
craiglyn - 15-Nov-17 @ 6:07 PM
Hi, my son started his apprenticeship is July and has been advised he gets 20 days holiday per year but that includes all the bank holidays.Are they able to do that as even the GOV site contradicts itself by saying its 20 days plus bank hols but then states the employer can include bank holidays in the 20 days. Thanks
stuart - 15-Nov-17 @ 1:05 PM
sue - Your Question:
I work night shifts on a flexible working hours contract as I have to care for a sick partner my set working days mean this year I have to work xmas eve xmas day boxing day new year eve and new year day, can my employer make me do thsi?

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your contract to see what it says about the hours you are contracted to do. You may wish to discuss this directly with your employer if you think you are being unfairly treated.
AnApprenticeship - 13-Nov-17 @ 3:11 PM
I work night shifts on a flexible working hours contract as I have to care for a sick partner my set working days mean this year I have to work xmas eve xmas day boxing day new year eve and new year day, can my employer make me do thsi?
sue - 11-Nov-17 @ 8:11 AM
My son is 16 and started his apprenticeship in June this year, he works mon to Fri , 7.30 to 5 until he started college in Sept doing just a friday which means he now works Monday to Thursday same times sometime doing overtime, he has notbeen given a contract yet, hasn't been told what holidays he is entitled to. He has been informed that he will be off for 2 wks at Christmas,but with no contract does this mean he will not be paid?
Sue - 7-Nov-17 @ 10:59 AM
My son is 16 and on an apprenticeship, he has just changed job and new employer states on his contract 3.50 ph and 42.5 ow and every other Saturday. Can they work more than 40 or is the max 40 hrs pw.
Danny dent - 21-Oct-17 @ 1:49 PM
Sind - Your Question:
My son is 18 nearly 19 he has just started and apprenticeship and has been given a company contract to sign. They have stated that overtime is not paid.Including with the contract is a form to sign to opt out of the 48 working limit. This does not seem fair to ask him to sign away his rights and then can be asked to work endless extra hours with no extra pay. should he sign

Our Response:
Employers don’t have to pay workers for overtime. However, employees’ average pay for the total hours worked mustn’t fall below the national minimum wage, i.e the national minimum apprenticeship wage for his age, please see link here. Before you sign this contract, I would request your son gives ACAS a call in order to acertain his rights.
AnApprenticeship - 19-Oct-17 @ 3:13 PM
EGCJC - Your Question:
Hi, I am 20, nearly turned 21. I have completed one year of my two year apprenticeship. For all of that year I was granted a 1 hour lunch break. (I work from 8AM to 17:30PM five days a week ((that's nine and a half hours-including my lunch. That's 47.5 hours a week, 45 hours if you take away my lunches))) My employer at the time when I first got my job said that I had a set lunch 12-1. After a year of taking that, I get a phone call from a director saying that I should be taking half an hour breaks, not an hour. I was slightly confused by this so I called HR and they said my break should consist of 30mins. Is half an hour break acceptable for working those hours? I was just confused on it all. Many thanks,

Our Response:
By law all workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during their working day, if they work more than six hours a day. Therefore, your work break is within the terms of the European Time Directive. However, you would have to read the terms and conditions of your contract in order to find out what you are entitled to. If your contract states that you are allowed an hour lunchbreak, then you do not have to consent to reducing this. If your contract says you should have 30 minutes, then you would have to revert to having a 30 minute break as per your original contract terms.
AnApprenticeship - 19-Oct-17 @ 11:04 AM
My son is 18 nearly 19 he has just started and apprenticeship and has been given a company contract to sign. They have stated that overtime is not paid .Including with the contract is a form to sign to opt out of the 48 working limit. This does not seem fair to ask him to sign away his rights and then can be asked to work endless extra hours with no extra pay. should he sign
Sind - 18-Oct-17 @ 9:00 PM
Hi, I am 20, nearly turned 21. I have completed one year of my two year apprenticeship. For all of that year I was granted a 1 hour lunch break. (I work from 8AM to 17:30PM five days a week ((that's nine and a half hours-including my lunch. That's 47.5 hours a week, 45 hours if you take away my lunches))) My employer at the time when i first got my job said that I had a set lunch 12-1. After a year of taking that, I get a phone call from a director saying that I should be taking half an hour breaks, not an hour. I was slightly confused by this so I called HR and they said my break should consist of 30mins. Is half an hour break acceptable for working those hours? I was just confused on it all. Many thanks,
EGCJC - 18-Oct-17 @ 4:40 PM
Mei - Your Question:
Hi I am 22 and I been in a apprenticeship before from a different apprenticeship provider. I finished my level 2, however I moved to another workplace with different apprenticeship provider. however they are paying me apprenticeship minimum wage which is 3.50, is this right ? and also they have said to me that the employer has paid for the apprenticeship so I have to do my year in apprenticeship after that is finished I got to do another year of service with the employer if I don't I would have to pay for the apprenticeship.

Our Response:
Firstly, if you are over the age of 19, then the £3.50 per hour rate applies to apprentices under 19, plus those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. Once you have completed the first year you must be paid the minimum wage rate for your age, please see link here . With regards having to reimburse any training money if you leave before completing a full year with the company, you would have to read the terms of your contract and what you have agreed to when signing the contract. If there is a clause in your contract specifying this, by signing it, you are agreeing to these terms.
AnApprenticeship - 17-Oct-17 @ 10:59 AM
Runder - Your Question:
My son has just started an apprenticeship 3 weeks ago and has been told that he needs to do a month in hand , is it right that he won't get paid for 7 weeks , seems a long time befre they pay him his 3.50 per hour? And how do they expect him to get his business pass and dinners

Our Response:
A month in hand would mean he would get paid at the end of the first month he has worked, as most employees do.
AnApprenticeship - 16-Oct-17 @ 2:29 PM
Hi I am 22 and i been in a apprenticeship before from a different apprenticeship provider... i finished my level 2, however i moved to another workplace with different apprenticeship provider.. however they arepaying me apprenticeship minimum wage which is 3.50, is this right ? and also they have said to me that the employer has paid for the apprenticeship so i have to do my year in apprenticeship after that is finished i got to do another year of service with the employer if i don't i would have to pay for the apprenticeship.
Mei - 16-Oct-17 @ 1:37 PM
My son has just started an apprenticeship 3 weeks ago and has been told that he needs to do a month in hand , is it right that he won't get paid for 7 weeks , seems a long time befre they pay him his 3.50 per hour? And how do they expect him to get his business pass and dinners
Runder - 15-Oct-17 @ 7:41 PM
My grandaughter was 16 in July. She is starting her hairdressing apretón 12th October. She will spend 24 hrs in the salon and 6 hrs at the academy. Does she get the minimum wage for the 30 hrs or just the hours she works in the salon. Thanks
Maz - 11-Oct-17 @ 11:34 PM
Robbo - Your Question:
Hi im currently working as an apprentice lgv my wage was £200 per week but now ive passed my test I am on £6.49 an hour and £8.11 overtime my question is I would like to work as much overtime as I can but am being told I can only work 17 per week also is this hourly rate fair or correct. Thanks.

Our Response:
I cannot work out whether you are still an apprentice or not. If you are still an apprentice then, an apprentice is entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £3.50. If you are no longer classed as an apprentice, then you are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for your age, please see link here, which should further answer your question. If your employer wishes you to work no more than 17 hours per week overtime because it falls under the European Working Time Directive, then there is little you can do here.
AnApprenticeship - 9-Oct-17 @ 12:31 PM
Hi im currently working as an apprentice lgv my wage was £200 per week but now ive passed my test i am on £6.49 an hour and £8.11 overtime my question is i would like to work as much overtime as i can but am being told i can only work 17 per week also is this hourly rate fair or correct. Thanks.
Robbo - 7-Oct-17 @ 9:00 PM
jude - Your Question:
Hi my 17 year old son is on a apprenticeship ,he works 9 hour days tues to fri then college 6 hours he also work saturday between5 and 7 hour this is classed as overtime. he mentioned to his boss he doesnt get a day off but they said college is like a day off. hes in a local garage ,i just feel its unfair also theyhave had him building fences ,painting them,laying tons of gravel in the carpark,which has nothing to do with his apprenticeship.car machanic.

Our Response:
As specified in the article,as a young worker your working hours cannot be longer than 40 hours per week rather than the normal 48. Also, your employer must give you at least 12 hours off between shifts and at least 24 hours clear from working each week. Make sure that your employer is aware of these entitlements and speak up if they try to flout them. You can see more regarding your son's working hours and conditions here. Therefore, your son needs to speak with his employer and/or to his apprentice provider regarding this matter.
AnApprenticeship - 3-Oct-17 @ 10:28 AM
hi my 17 year old son is on a apprenticeship ,he works 9 hour days tues to fri then college 6 hours he also work saturday between5 and 7 hour this is classed as overtime. he mentioned to his boss he doesnt get a day off but they said college is like a day off . hes in a local garage ,i just feel its unfair also theyhave had him building fences,painting them,laying tons of gravel in the carpark,which has nothing to do with his apprenticeship .car machanic .
jude - 2-Oct-17 @ 10:20 AM
Cauls - Your Question:
My 20 year old brother is currently undertaking an apprenticeship with our older brother at a company. However my older brother has recently left and how the company is refusing to pick my brother up (its an electrician apprenticeship) and they are keeping him for longer hours now e.g. today he worked from 5am to 11pm. He is then starting work tomorrow at 5am. What are the hours etc that he can do at 20 years old and who do we contact and how do we go about with a complaint without the risk of him losing his apprenticeship? Thank you for reading.

Our Response:
Firstly, your brother would have to look at the terms and conditions of his employment contract in order to find out his hours and whether they can be exceeded. At age 20, he is treated like any other employer. However, he is entitled to the minimum wage for his age when undertaking overtime and he has a right to speak to his employer directly about these extended hours. Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, regulation 10, a worker is entitled to a rest period of 11 consecutive hours rest in each 24-hour period during which he works for his employer. Therefore, his employer is breaching this. You don't say how long your brother has been employed with the firm, but if he has been an apprentice for more than two years, if his employer dismisses him as a result, he can take the matter to an employment tribunal. Speaking to his apprentice provider may help. He may also wish to give ACAS a call to find out his rights and full options.
AnApprenticeship - 26-Sep-17 @ 1:51 PM
My 20 year old brother is currently undertaking an apprenticeship with our older brother at a company. However my older brother has recently left and how the company is refusing to pick my brother up (its an electrician apprenticeship) and they are keeping him for longer hours now e.g. today he worked from 5am to 11pm. He is then starting work tomorrow at 5am. What are the hours etc that he can do at 20 years old and who do we contact and how do we go about with a complaint without the risk of him losing his apprenticeship?Thank you for reading.
Cauls - 25-Sep-17 @ 9:10 PM
angymee - Your Question:
My son's girlfriend is 17 and an apprentice hairdresser, she has been told she has to work Christmas day or new years day, surely they can't make her? She also works 45 hours a week with no extra pay, I have told her to question this but she is very shy and being so young doesn't want to speak out. It makes me mad that they are taking liberties and are clearly in breach of her rights as a young worker, please help

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here which will tell you all you need to know.
AnApprenticeship - 22-Sep-17 @ 2:36 PM
bubbleslevy - Your Question:
My daughter has just applied for an apprentice she was selected for an interview and attend. He said let me know in a couple of days if you want the position. She called the next morning to say yes. He then text 1pm Sunday evening to say. She and two other people would have to come in for a weeks trail Tuesday to sat 9am til 7pm with one hr break. He said on Sunday he will make his decision and this is unpaid. is this allowed. god knows what these apprenticeship do to our children's brains. she fulls like she's in x factor. she's had a proper meltdown today. its a long time to be on your get at just 17.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. If the employer specified that this was the terms (even after she started the job) she has little recourse I'm afraid, except to refuse the terms and to go after an apprenticeship employer that is more respectful of its employees. The less people accept such conditions such as this and internships (where people are expected to work for months without pay), the less employers will be tempted to get away with it. Sad but true.
AnApprenticeship - 21-Sep-17 @ 3:15 PM
Random - Your Question:
My daughter is doing a business administration apprenticeship.the company she is working for has now opened a cafe and is expecting her to serve in it when they are short staffed. I would not class this as Business Administration so does she have the right to refuse?

Our Response:
If this is not described in her apprentice contract as being part of the job, then yes, she can refuse. Your daughter would have to read the terms of the contract and her job description and if it doesn't tie in she should speak with her employer directly.
AnApprenticeship - 21-Sep-17 @ 12:29 PM
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