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Your Rights as an Apprentice

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 7 Sep 2019 | 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 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
I’m starting an apprenticeship which is far away from me and I have a feeling that I will not like it. This is because I tried to find an apprenticeship locally and I do not want to waste the company’s time if I decide to quit.
Sponge bob - 28-Jun-19 @ 5:11 PM
Hi i work in a school and have an apprenticeship on a monday i go to collage but the collage year as now finsished and their not telling me monday i have to go to work now and do my cpllage work in my own time is this right
Bell - 23-Jun-19 @ 1:15 PM
I'm a apprentice I get just under everyone else but the company hasn't started me on the corse work yet I'm 5 months deep in a year long where do I stand I feel used as all I have done is work in a pear with some one next to no traning and get told by others ie management that I'm to slow however I'm faster then most and management I asked today what's go I g on with my app and I was told I don't know not my problem where do I stand with that and I'm a suffer with adhd everyone just laughs but it dose affect me I have told the employer this I feel very confused and I'd like to move forward with my app and progress to an employee please help I'm going insane
Jboy - 19-Jun-19 @ 5:46 PM
Hi A young girl at our company has completed a One Year Apprenticeship in Business Admin and has been paid £3.90 per week.Now she's completed this, the company have told her to do another One Year Apprenticeship in Customer Service and again she will be paid £3.90 per week although she does a full time job and works as hard as everyone else. Is this right and is this allowed as I feel she's being taken advantage of. Regards, Freddy
Freddy - 17-Jun-19 @ 1:44 PM
As a apprentice am I allowed to do two 12hour shifts one after another then other days 9.5,bith days of weekend I'm being mdr to do 12days both.
Titch - 15-Jun-19 @ 7:43 AM
Is there a minimum amount of hours an apprentice can work. We have a student who is attending college 2 days per week but is wanting to work with us for 3 days per week. Would he still be classed as an apprentice if he’s only working 3 days with our company. Would it be classed as an apprenticeship?
Lexf - 13-Jun-19 @ 5:22 PM
I started my apprenticeship my boss told me before they properly sign me up for it they like to give us a week to settle in and see if we like it or not. Nearly a year later I never got signed up for my apprenticeship. I was paid apprentice wage the whole time they then took me on full time since they waited too long to sign me up. Is that legal? (I had Asked on multiple occasions about it and they told me not to worry about it.)
rennie - 7-Jun-19 @ 7:33 PM
Hi, I'm just wondering.. Can an apprentice working in the NHS work from home? I've tried to ask my manager on multiple occasions but never got a direct answer and it's beginning to bug me. Thanks
Wardy - 6-Jun-19 @ 10:48 AM
I work for a company who have basically false advertised. Said I could work 3 days, then it was 4 days and now I’m here five days a week. Apparently I could earn good commission. Once I hit my target and over exceeded it, I didn’t get my money. Said I had to do something else in order to get it. Also said to me they are now halfing the commission , due to the other department not working hard. So they get some money out of , so they do there job.. meaning me and my other team mate loose out? How is that even possible.
Britt - 3-Jun-19 @ 12:18 PM
Hi. My son is 16yrs old and has recently started an apprenticeship as a chef. We were assured that he would do at least 30hrs a week and as yet he has only done 13hrs over a weekend. When I spoke to the company they told me that they couldnt up his hours until he had passed his kitchen hygeine level 2. But surely he shouldnt have been allowed in the kitchen at all till he gad completed it. He was told initially that he would do half in the kitchen an half waiting on tables. This gas not happened. He alsi has ADHD and mild Autism both of which they are aware of but seem to be penalising him over. Could you please give me some advice on how to handle this and who is best to talk to. Many thanks Sam
Sam - 20-May-19 @ 7:41 PM
I have finished my apprenticeship and I'm now leaving to do another job my employer is deducting the cost of the training from my final wages is she allowed to do that
Tia - 13-May-19 @ 2:47 PM
I have completed a 15 month apprenticeship but plan to start another apprenticeship will I only receive the 1st year rate of pay when I start because it a new apprenticeship? Await your advice.
Jane - 9-May-19 @ 2:50 PM
Hi, I started my business admin apprenticeship in December and since then my supervisor has consistently belittled me in front of other employees, once I caught him insulting my work to a sales rep who I have to work with on a daily basis. It's a small business with only a few of us in the office so I can't exactly ask for a different mentor. The company's owner has said they have spoke to him and that he will retire soon, however I'm not sure I can put up with this any more and I worry that one day I'm going to say something stupid to him and end up losing my job. Can i get some advise please.
ward - 26-Apr-19 @ 4:17 PM
Hi, My daughter has started an apprenticeship in September 2018. Working four days a week Monday to Thursday completing college work on Friday. She has now been asked to work Sunday opening and running the shop alone. I am concerned about the lone working, never mind the extra responsibilities for no extra pay. Is this allowed ??. Thanks
Rich - 26-Apr-19 @ 1:47 PM
My 18 yr old son started his apprenticeship yesterday, and he has gone away to weymouth to finish a job, for the rest of the week, he was under the impression he was going to be provided food, but he hasn't...he was taken to a tesco, after working 9am til 5pm without any lunch..or breakfast as they left byfleet at 6 am to travel to weymouth, and was told to buy his own stuff for the week....surely they should provide at least breakfast and dinner,? Hes now really homesick and wants to come home and give it up...I had to transfer him £50 to survive, which has left me with nothing, as im on benefits, any advice would be great...thanks
Witchycat78 - 24-Apr-19 @ 11:54 AM
I'm currently undertaking a tattoo apprenticeship. I'm required to work 5 days a week and it is totally unpaid. No travel expenses (I have to travel an hour to get there and hour back) costing about £13 a day. No lunch provided. The hours are long varying from 8-10 hours per shift. The expected length of the apprenticeship is roughly about a year and a half. I recently got very ill due to lack of sleep and no being able to afford to eat properly and I asked for a couple days off to recover. They said I wasn't allowed and had to ask the owner if it was really that bad. Which didn't seem right to me, considering I'm basically a full time unpaid employee. I don't know whether what they're doing is legal or not and what my rights are. I want a career in tattooing and this seems to be the only option right now, but i dont think i can carry on this way. Its effecting my health and i cant afford to get by without any money. Any advice would greatly be appreciated.
Tracey100 - 18-Apr-19 @ 6:07 PM
My son is 17 and in his first year of a plumbing apprenticeship he has been 3 min late this morning so he been sent home without pay to teach him a lesson can they do that
Nad - 17-Apr-19 @ 12:45 PM
Hi, my son qualified from his apprenticeship in September, and the company finally increased his wage (due to now being qualified) in January. Should he receive back pay for the increase he wasn’t paid since he qualified? So as from September, he was working as a qualified technician but still receiving his apprenticeship wage up until January? Many thanks
SDG - 11-Apr-19 @ 9:21 AM
I have been doing a carpentry/joinery apprenticeship for just over a year now, I get £35 a day for an 8/9 hour day I work 4 days in the week and have one day at college which I am paid for, do you think I should ask for a raise yet?
Jt - 2-Apr-19 @ 3:29 PM
Hi im 16 years old and i started my apprenticeship last November. My aporenticeship is Business Administration. When i applied for the apprenticeship i was asked to go to the college which would be the training provider and complete three tests (maths, english and ict). I passed the math and english but failed the ict. Once i was offered the job i was told i would have to complete a cource in ict at the college on a Tuesday (which i would be paid to do)along with ‘corse work’ for my apprenticeship (unpaid). I have now completed the ict course and only have my course work to do. I am working 40 hours a week and when i am away from work im spending alot of my time doing the cource work. I am not given anytime during that 40 hours at work to complete any cource work. Please could you tell me should i be given time within my working hours to comolete cource work for my apprenticeship. Or should i be paid for the hours of cource work i do at home. To be honest when im away from work all i want to do is relax, spend time with family or friends not complete cource work all the time, so im hoping that i should be allowed time at work to do so as i know other people in apprenticeships who are given the time.
Jacko - 2-Apr-19 @ 1:18 AM
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