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Your Rights as an Apprentice

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 16 Nov 2018 | 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.

Wages

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 has just started an apprenticeship advertised at 40 hours a week, however from the time he is being picked up and dropped homehe is completing 12- 13 hour days, (for which he is not being paid for) is this acceptable. i personally think it is a lot of hours to work but, appreciate it is not easy find employers in my area for apprenticeships, so he is lucky. Many thanks
Flossie - 16-Nov-18 @ 12:01 PM
My Grandson has been an apprentice since February of this year. He has been working 12 hour days most of that time over a 5 day week. He has been told he has to start working a 6 day week, if he refuses they say he will be fired. Surely that cannot be right. He is 21, can you please give us some advise.
Lindy - 15-Nov-18 @ 7:23 PM
My Grandson has been an apprentice since February of this year.He has been working 12 hour shifts for most of the time over a 5 day week. He has been told he has to work some 6 day weeks or he will be fired. Surely that is not right. He is 21. Can you please advise.
Lindy - 15-Nov-18 @ 7:17 PM
I have just started an apprenticeship on Monday, I am not being given any breaks, and I’m expected to work 7 and a half hours Monday to Saturday, (37.5 hours a week!) however, they’re expecting me to do a lot more hours than I am supposed to. As a 17 year old, doing research, majority websites I have looked on have said that I should be working 40 hours across a 17 week period. Is this correct or should I be doing the full hours per 1 week?
Jay - 8-Nov-18 @ 6:21 PM
Hi my Son of 16 has been offered an apprenticeship in Engineering but the first 2 months are without pay. Is this legal or are the employers taking advantage? He has costs associated with travel to and from work/training and lunches.
bulwiz - 27-Oct-18 @ 1:01 PM
I am starting my second year in a nurserytoday I was told that my hours would be cut to 20 hours and I would not be needed during school holidays. That means no work for 3weeks at xmas and 6 weeks in the summer plus half terms.I would be without wages for 11 week during the year. Can they do this
Kel - 23-Oct-18 @ 6:34 PM
I’m under 18, in a hairdressing apprenticeship. I am booked out for a hour break each day from Tuesday to Friday. Often I am made to go on lunch late and not given the time back or pulled off lunch to work. I am also required to turn up at work 15 minutes early without pay and if I am late am warned with a disciplinary. I am given no breaks on Saturday. And only get 3 hours training each week. I am not allowed to leave work at 6. I am forced to stay behind and clean up. We have sheets where we write our hours down to the exact time and I write down how much overtime I’ve done each week and each month I receive the same salary. I don’t get paid for any overtime. I want to know what I can do to improve my situation.
Bouncydream - 22-Oct-18 @ 8:35 PM
My son is in his 2nd year as an electrical apprentice working for a small company. He is 18(19 in December) earning £3.70 an hour. The last 2 weeks he's worked over 60 hours including weekends. He wasn't allowed to take Zuma off with his boss telling him 'he'd have a black mark' if he did. He's getting demoralised as doesn't receive any overtime pay. What do you think, is this exploitation?
Js - 15-Oct-18 @ 2:07 PM
I am an apprentice for an employer and once a week I go into a college and study and the remaining 4 days a week I am working over 30 hours. I think I should be entitled to my full 20 days holiday and I should be paid when I am at my college studying however my employer does not agree. What should I do?
Kira5693 - 26-Sep-18 @ 8:41 PM
My son is struggling to find a placement for an IT Networking apprenticeship. The handlers of the scheme don't seem to be doing anything. My son has tried lots of places but has been unsuccessful up to now. Would he be able to claim job seekers allowance, any other benefit or at least have his 'Stamp' put on whilst he's in this position? Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.
JM - 26-Sep-18 @ 4:21 PM
Hi, I’m 18 in two week and have already done my first year as an apprentice in a nursery/pre School. Does my wage go up at all? Or do I have to wait till in 19...?
Preschoolapp - 24-Sep-18 @ 11:09 AM
Hi an apprenticeship started April 2017 for 12 months at a school. The school then changed to an academy in November 2017 so the school said the apprentice wage starts again from November 2017 for 12 months even though 7 months of the apprenticeship had already been completed. So it's now been 17 months at the apprentice wage which should go up to minimum wage after 12 months. Does anyone know if that is correct or should the wage have been increased in April 2018. Thanks
LMC - 20-Sep-18 @ 9:39 PM
@Ben - he's in a tricky situation because he is at the start of a new contract and therefore on his probation period. If he is at the end of his contract his employer can say 'well there are the terms and if you don't accept them we won't employ you'. You'd have to give Acas a call to see where he stands, they are good at advising.
MatT - 6-Sep-18 @ 11:52 AM
My younger brother has just finished his apprenticeship at a large engineering company as a maintenance engineer. He is due to transition into his first substantive role, but is being offered pay which is significantly less than other people doing the same job (10k pa), and the terms offfered to external recruits into the company for that role. This feels wrong to me and discriminatory, but I want to know what rights he has from a legal standpoint. The company I work for (a major aerospace engineering company) has a single pay structure for roles similar to the one he is going into, which doesn’t differentiate between apprentices or current employees to the same extent. He has tried to discuss this with his manager, who will not change his stance. Please can you help, or point me in the direction of someone who can?
Ben - 4-Sep-18 @ 8:58 PM
Hi I am 19 and in the first year of an apprenticeship at a Nursery. I started in October 2017. I have received no formal training. I have only seen a training advisor twice. The original advisor left the business and I heard nothing. I recently chased them up to be told my employer had removed me from their scheme in May this year without telling me. They have not assigned me to a new provider. I have therefore been working an average of 40 hours a week and receiving only apprentice rates for the first 32 hours. I have been told today after several weeks of chasing that a new provider is due to visit and sign me up but that it will most likely mean I have to start my apprentiship again. This means I have wasted almost a full year working for less than the legal minimum wage, doing the same job as full time employees and have no qualification to show for it. Is there anyone I can talk to before I seek independent legal advice. Thank you.
CRAGGER - 21-Aug-18 @ 9:42 PM
As a 16 year old, can I work on occasion, a 9 hour day for 4 days and take the Friday off totalling a 36 hour working week ?
Wheezy - 20-Aug-18 @ 12:58 PM
I started my apprenticeship October 9th 2017 aged 19, I turned 20 October 15th... I won’t have gained my qualification until November/December 2018 but will turn 21 in October. Does this make me entitled to national minimum wage?
KK - 20-Aug-18 @ 12:44 AM
I'm currently doing a 2 year apprenticeship and my last day of college for my first year was 5.7.18 I'm 21 and believe I'm entitled to minimum wage for my age now but my boss won't pay it until I'm half way through my 2nd year. Is this right and if not what date should he start to pay minimum wage for my age?
#12 - 18-Aug-18 @ 10:32 AM
Pish - Your Question:
I started my apprenticeship 3 weeks ago and the people in my office just treat me as a nuisance when I seek advice or clarification on issues I have to deal with. I am dealing with temporary labour in a number of roles some of the people who are ringing for work are not UK citizens and it can get confusing at times also when it comes to skills held by the applicants. Today I was on the phone to a client and the office manager started screaming at me across the office as I had got something wrong. When I came of the phone she continued to berate me in front of the others in the office and when I hung my head as I was upset she shouted at me 'look at me when I speak to you' is this acceptable behavior on her part and if not what can I do about it?

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this, it certainly doesn't sound like very professional behaviour. If you’re a worker and you’ve tried solving a problem or concern informally by talking to your manager but you’re not satisfied, you can make a formal grievance complaint in writing, please see the link here .
AnApprenticeship - 31-Jul-18 @ 11:56 AM
I started my apprenticeship 3 weeks ago and the people in my office just treat me as a nuisance when I seek adviceor clarification on issues I have to deal with. I am dealing with temporary labour in a number of roles some of the people who are ringing for work are not UK citizens and it can get confusing at times also when it comes to skills held by the applicants. Today I was on the phone to a client and the office manager started screaming at me across the office as I had got something wrong. When I came of the phone she continued to berate me in front of the others in the office and when I hung my head as I was upset she shouted at me 'look at me when I speak to you' is this acceptable behavior on her part and if not what can I do about it?
Pish - 30-Jul-18 @ 4:19 PM
Tona - Your Question:
Hello, I am 16 and starting an apprenticeship. Working 9-7 with a 1 hour lunch is that legal? As I got told I can only stay till 6 as I’m 16?Thanks

Our Response:
If you’re under 18, you can’t work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. However, there are exceptions, please see the link here.
AnApprenticeship - 30-Jul-18 @ 11:02 AM
Hello, I am 16 and starting an apprenticeship. Working 9-7 with a 1 hour lunch is that legal? As I got told I can only stay till 6 as I’m 16? Thanks
Tona - 28-Jul-18 @ 10:53 AM
My son passed his Level " Electrical Installation aged 17 in June 2017 & gained employment as an apprentice OCT '17 based on 4 more years training; now it is July '18 & he is now 18. More often than not he is employed 15hrs per week (including college time), often has to miss college, works away, stays nights away & now having passed his driving test I've provided his car with SD&P with commuting insurance, they have using his own car to travel to different sites for work. He has not been paid expenses properly nor is he insured properly on his car, nor are his min. hours correct. He is afraid of me confronting his employer so what do you suggest I do, please?
BRAD - 25-Jul-18 @ 6:50 AM
Hi my fiancé is 19, and he’s doing an apprenticeship. But I don’t feel his boss is doing things legally or right, as when his boss feels like it he gives him more than 8 hours work to do and according to the apprenticeship law you can’t exceed 8 hours. Also I don’t think he’s being treated fairly as whenever he asks for holidays off his boss rarely gives him them off, and he doesn’t give him paid holiday he just classes it as a day off. But whenever his other two colleagues request the days off they seem to be getting them straight away? My fiancé has tried to complain to his boss but it’s like his boss takes no notice of it. Then criticises him more than he does praise him? I honestly can’t stress how much stress his boss gives him yet I feel I can’t do nothing to help him
RP - 24-Jul-18 @ 7:26 PM
my daughter has just left school and starts her apprenticeship in august she has just had a meeting with her employer and has been told yhat she has to work for 12 weeks with no pay is this legal
Terry - 20-Jul-18 @ 2:53 PM
I am doing a apprenticeship, the course is 2 years, however I am doing so many hours, I normally have a Tuesday off but because college is not open I am working a Tuesday (9-6:30) a Wednesday (9-8) a Thursday (12-8) and a Friday (9-5:30) and Saturday (8.30-4:30) and I only get 30 min breaks each day, I am only 17, is this legal? What should I do ?
Lil - 20-Jul-18 @ 11:08 AM
Kay- Your Question:
Hello, can you give me some advice please! I started a job in January this year & on my work contract it stated I started this apprenticeship in January. I have been paid £6 pound an hour for nearly 7 months yet my regional trainer signed me up last week, baring in mind we're in July now and then he said my apprenticeship starts from last week it seems I've been made a fool of what can I do about this? All I want to do now is leave. Please give me some advice on this.Thank you!

Our Response:
If your contract says you started the apprenticeship in January, then there is a breach of contract. You need to try to resolve this issue informally first. However, if you feel your apprenticeship provider has treated you unfairly, you can complain (if the situation is not resolved). Please see link here . You may also wish to give Acas a call in order to obtain some further advice.
AnApprenticeship - 20-Jul-18 @ 10:05 AM
My son had just started an apprenticeship and will be 18 in November. Hours are 7-5with 1.5 hours total breaks during the day. He is there 50 hours Including the breaks (company policy for all). I have tried broaching the 40 hour max rule with him but doesn't want to rock the boat by mentioning it. Should I let it go or bring it up with the employer myself?
Sb - 19-Jul-18 @ 8:55 PM
Hello, can you give me some advice please! I started a job in January this year &on my work contract it stated I started this apprenticeship in January. I have been paid£6 pound an hour for nearly 7 months yet my regional trainer signed me up last week,baring in mind we're in July now and then he said my apprenticeship starts from last week it seems I've been made a fool of what can I do about this? All I want to do now is leave. Please give me some advice on this. Thank you!
Kay - 19-Jul-18 @ 4:16 AM
srh - Your Question:
My daughter has completed her course in 9 months instead of 2 years (with distinctions) Can she move onto the next level. The apprenticeship contract is for 2 yrs. She has just turned 24 last week. The apprenticeship provider she was recruited through & who runs the training is saying she can move to Level 4 but she will have to pay £3,000 for the course.

Our Response:
Your daughter would have to speak directly with her employer/apprenticeship provider, as they would have their individual terms.
AnApprenticeship - 13-Jul-18 @ 12:16 PM
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Latest Comments
  • Flossie
    Re: Your Rights as an Apprentice
    Hi, my son has just started an apprenticeship advertised at 40 hours a week, however from the time he is being picked up and…
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