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Your Rights as an Apprentice

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 13 Jan 2020 | comments*Discuss
Apprentice Apprenticeship Employee

When you start an apprenticeship your employer essentially takes you on as an employee. This means that you have the same employee rights as any one else and that your employer cannot exploit you.

Although you will still be training during your apprenticeship scheme, you will receive a regular wage and still be entitled to holidays, fair working hours and rest breaks.

Working Hours

There are laws in place to protect how many hours you can be made to work at any time. The limit for an average working week is 48 hours, or 40 if you are under 18. You can work more than this in one week but over a 17 week period it must average out to less than this.

You are also entitled to at least one 20 minute break for every six hours that you work and at least 11 hours off between shifts. This the law and unless you opt out, you have the right to refuse to work any more than this.

Holiday Entitlement

As an apprentice you will be entitled to at least one and a half days’ paid holiday for every month of your training - you will also get bank holidays. Check your contract of employment to see what you have been given. You also have the right to at least 24 hours free from work in an week or 48 hours free in two weeks. This increases to 48 hours free from work in a week if you under 18.


Even though you are on an apprenticeship scheme you are treated as an employee and therefore will be paid a regular wage. This money will be paid weekly or monthly to you and you have to pay tax and national insurance on your earnings.

The National Minimum Wage for apprentices until April, 2018 for age under 19 or aged 19 or over but in the first year of their apprenticeship is £3.70 per hour. Apprentices over the age of 19 and who have completed one year of their Apprenticeship are entitled to receive the National Minimum Wage applicable to their age. These rates apply to time working, plus time spent training that is part of the Apprenticeship.

Employers are free to pay above the new wage and many do so, but employers must ensure that they are paying their apprentices at least the minimum wage.

If an apprentice is on a higher wage, the employer must continue to pay that for the remainder of the training or until the apprentice becomes eligible for the full national minimum wage.

Whatever you agree on, make sure that you have it in writing and they don’t try to take any illegal deductions.

Fair Treatment

As an apprentice or as an employee, you have the right to be treated fairly in all aspects of your work. This means that as well as being paid regularly, being given holiday and not being made to work too many hours, you should not face any discrimination or danger.

Your rights include adequate health and safety training and prevention. They also include being able to work happily without being discriminated against for your race, religion, age or gender. If you think this is happening then you must report it.

When you are taking part in an apprenticeship scheme you should be given the same employee rights as other members of staff. These include fair working hours and rest breaks, as well as being given your full holiday entitlement.

You should also not face any other unfair treatment such as discrimination or poor health and safety. If you think your employer is breaching any of your rights then you must speak up and report them. Now, investigate health and safety for apprentices here.

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Hi my son is currently in his 1st year apprenticeship and received a text from employer stating he could no longer afford to pay him and he was paying him off!! The business is still running surely there are rules out there stopping employers doing this to young kids??
Upset mum - 8-Jan-20 @ 6:47 PM
My son has been in a joinery apprenticeship since September but so far he sweeps, paints and sands down wood or is used for on site labour.He already has his Level 2 Diploma and just needs his NVQ level 2 but feels he is losing the skills he has gained.Surely he should be doing more woodwork?This cannot be right!
TC - 8-Jan-20 @ 5:21 PM
Hello I was wondering I’m 17 years old and I’m an apprentice in childcare and I work more than 40 hours a week, is this ok?
Chantelle Gray - 8-Dec-19 @ 9:52 PM
Hi, my niece has just started an 18 month apprenticeship and found out she's pregnant. What are her rights and entitlement with regards to the course. Thanks
Beccy - 6-Dec-19 @ 7:52 PM
Hi, I am in my 4th year of my joinery apprenticeship in Scotland and have been given my annual pay rise for being in my 4th year. I am 25 and have been given £9 per hour however I have been informed that the minimum wage for 4th year apprentice’s is £9.78. My boss justified this by saying my timekeeping isn’t up to his standard so he will not be paying me £9.78. Is this right?
Shawn - 25-Nov-19 @ 9:30 PM
The collage have stopped my sons apprenticeship, because of health and safety?Although I am concerned, he is happy to work there.Surely, it was up to the college to enforce H&s?.As a parent, I am totally in the dark, as to what is going on.I only find things out from my 17 year old son, the college contact me zero.He is still a minor right?Why do the college not I form me of anything?
Mum - 23-Nov-19 @ 7:02 AM
Please give me what Acton Can Itakeagainst the Employer for Miss managementunder Apprentice Act 1961
Ratan Kumar - 16-Nov-19 @ 4:28 PM
1.Can an Employerserve WARNINGlettertoAn Apprentice Traineeduring the training periodwhen the work alloted is fully withoutgiving proper training for the stipulated work time andworking assignments without evaluation orinduction on the particular workto theApprentice Trainee.2. Can an Employer call theApprentice traineeto work on Sunday'swithout the Supervision or priortraininginthe task assigned forthat particularSundayin absence of responsibleSuperior. This has caused an incident of Deviationand the the Management blaming the Apprentice Trainee to take appropriateaction on the Apprentice Traineebutnot the Responsiblesupervisor.
Ratan Kumar - 16-Nov-19 @ 4:24 PM
Hi there I am in need of advice, I started work for my company just over two years ago, fully employed, on a full time basis. A few months ago I was offered to go on an apprenticeship course to further my existing qualifications. We had agreed verbally that they would pay me for the days I am at college, which they have stuck too, through the last two months, but not this month I recieved my pay slip with a note on saying they aren't going to pay me for the college days anymore, I have raised concern about this but it doesn't sound like it is going anywhere, please can I have some advice, very stressed, thankyou!
CR - 8-Nov-19 @ 11:08 AM
My son left his apprenticeship as a heavy goods vehicle technician due to inadequate training and a culture of bullying in the workplace.He had to ask for help moving his toolbox which is the size of a small car.One of his ex-colleagues lifted it on a forklift and it fell and is very damaged.These boxes are 2-3k (snap on).His employer is denying any responsibility- please advise.
Furious - 4-Nov-19 @ 10:07 PM
My son is 16 and is doing 2 days at collage on apprenticeship should he get paid for doing them days at collage or not
Angry dad - 20-Oct-19 @ 2:54 PM
My son is 16, he completed a week's trial for a construction company and was then offered an apprenticeship on the back of his hard work during this trial. He was due to start the following week, 4 days 8-5, 1 day at college 9 - 4.30. During the weekend he started with strep throat, tonsillitis and upper respiratory infection and needed to seek medical advice via GP. Was advised throat swabs and bloods then told to rest until results came back. I personally informed his work place and he returned (too soon) within three days. He wasthen advised by GP to return for further tests and given prescription for antibiotics, this resulted in another day (college) to be off again. On his return this week, they have told him they are terminating his apprenticeship with immediate effect. Where do we stand on unfair dismissal.?
Sarah - 15-Oct-19 @ 3:36 PM
Hi my nephew is doing an apprenticeship, he does 7.5 hours 4 days a week at work and 1 day release at college. I'm concerned about the length of his college day, it is an 11 hour day starts at 9am and finishes at 8pm is this normal? he is only getting paid from work for is normal 7.5 hours is this also correct?
KM - 8-Oct-19 @ 3:12 AM
My partner has just been made redundant, one day prior to a full years continuous employment, but two weeks into an apprenticeship for which he has never received an agreement for. Does he have any rights?
C - 2-Oct-19 @ 2:56 PM
Hi my son is 17, he has been told he has to work every other weekend, Saturday and Sunday- is this legal?
Sc - 30-Sep-19 @ 6:12 PM
My son gets paid sporadically for attending college sometimes not at all. Boss excuse is He didnt receive the college money. My son also gets pressured not to attend college to push the site job on, threatened with verbal warnings if he does go.My son has been told hes going to fail his apprenticeship if he doesn't attend more often. His boss doesn't have a problem with this. My son is at his wits end.
Grumpy dad - 23-Sep-19 @ 1:59 PM
So my son is at his wits end. He only gets paid sporadically for attending college, sometimes not at all. with the excuse thathis boss didnt receive the college money. My son also doesn't get to go to college all the time, boss excuse is you cant go because the job needs pushed on. Its now gotten to the stage where the college has told him if he isnt present for the next three days he will fail his apprenticeship. He went into college and received a verbal warning from boss. Is this legal or normal.
Grumpy dad - 23-Sep-19 @ 1:49 PM
Hi My son (19) has recently started an engineering apprenticeship.He has been told he doesn’t get paid for college days? He will have to go 2 times a week for levels 2&3 engineering. Is that right? Or should he get paid?
Tina Bennett - 21-Sep-19 @ 11:28 AM
My son has just started his 2nd year apprenticeship and his boss has taken 2 weeks holiday and told my son on his return, that he wants him to work Saturdays to make up the time he’s been off (because his boss was on holiday)? Can he do this??My son is doing a 2 yr tree surgery apprenticeship but spends a good day or two each week doing jobs totally unrelated to tree surgery for his boss, ie, mending a truck, putting up shelves and painting a chicken coop! Surely this isn’t acceptable? I’d really appreciate any guidance on the above , thank you!
SJ - 17-Sep-19 @ 8:10 PM
Hi My son is 2 years into a apprenticeship and they have changed his place of work from somewhere 20 mins away to somewhere 1.5 hours away this is putting 3 hours more if there’s traffic travel time on his day, should they pay him for this ? .. he will be staying at this new place for a year DD
DD - 17-Sep-19 @ 8:41 AM
Hi my son is 16.75 years and has been offered an inhouse apprenticeship rather than one linked to college - is it illegal for a company to do that as my son is really looking forward to doing it but has been told now that company might not be allowed to do this because no qualification at end of 4 year apprenticeship
Silver - 7-Sep-19 @ 4:45 PM
My son is 16 has been working 40hours aweek plus 15 hours travel time and still goes to college 1 day aweek too ...and has received £600 a month...sure his entitled to a little more ?
Bagga - 4-Sep-19 @ 7:14 AM
My son over the last 5 weeks has been working 40 hours and 15 hours travelling time aweek. He is 16y and has received £600 a month is this correct?
Bagga - 4-Sep-19 @ 7:06 AM
Can a 16 year old apprentice have another job and work that job when they are not working at the place they have been given
C.dot45 - 23-Aug-19 @ 6:46 PM
I have just started an apprenticeship, the lady has taken me on as an apprenticeship so it’s just me and her. The lady is going on holiday for a week so I have a week off from working. Do I still get paid for that week as she’s gone away stopping me from working?
. - 19-Aug-19 @ 7:15 PM
I applied for an apprenticeship in a factory but they couldn’t find me a placement in college but used me as cheap labour. I wasn’t never on the course for the 6 months being there but they still paid me an apprenticeship wage instead of national average. Would I be able to claim owed money and when it came to over time he used the old minimum wage £5.55 instead of £5.85
James Kent - 18-Aug-19 @ 1:41 PM
My daughter has just started a hairdressing apprenticeship.She has been told that they will hold back her first two weeks salary.When asked why, they have said that it is to cover any holiday that she may take, prior to accruing it.She will apparently get the two weeks salary at the end of her employment. Can't be right, surely?
Jo E. - 14-Aug-19 @ 7:32 PM
Hi my son is 22 and just finished his first year in his apprenticeship, he had a meeting last month with his boss and was told he should now be on minimum wage, but when he got paid there was no difference he spoke to his boss (who isn't very nice)and he said theres no change in his wage untill September ,is this right
Cathy - 30-Jul-19 @ 6:30 PM
My son just lost his job today 3 years into his apprenticeship. The reason he was told was he was not up to standard even though he’s never been told by his team leader or HR or the person in charge of apprenticeships. Is this legal?
Fraz1975 - 23-Jul-19 @ 10:55 PM
My son has been working as an electrical apprentice at a paper mill for 2 years, the mill is now closing.He is halfway through his course.Where does this leave him? Is it up to his training provider to help find him a placement so that he can carry on? It's all a bit of a mess :(
Beaver2111 - 13-Jul-19 @ 7:23 AM
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