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Can I Sack an Apprentice?

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 13 Nov 2021 | comments*Discuss
 
Apprentice Sacking Dismissal Dismiss

Apprentices can be a hugely valuable addition to your workforce. Many businesses rely on apprentices to provide them with the skills they need, and many apprentices go on to climb within the business in which they train.

Sometimes, though, things don’t work out. It is sometimes necessary to dismiss apprentices. While this is not a pleasant task, there is often no alternative. It is legally possible to sack apprentices. But you need to make sure that you act within the boundaries of the law in order to avoid a potentially expensive employment tribunal.

Can I Sack Apprentices?

Yes. Apprentices are employees just like any other. This means various things. To begin with, it means that they are entitled to the same rights and protections that all other employees enjoy. For example, they are entitled to be paid a certain amount. But it also means that they can be treated like employees in other ways too – so they are not immune from sacking.

It is important to remember, however, that dismissals must be carried out in a manner that is legally valid. If you fail to adhere to the rules when sacking an apprentice (or, indeed, any other employee) you could end up with an expensive tribunal to face.

On What Grounds Can I Sack an Apprentice?

In order to sack someone legally, you have to establish fair grounds for their dismissal. There is a range of factors that might be considered fair grounds. These include, for example, poor conduct, or an inability to perform the job properly. Fair grounds might also include a legal reason that the apprentice can no longer work – for example if they are a driver and they lose their licence.

In addition, you must be able to show that you have acted reasonably during the course of the dismissal. There is, as yet, no firm legal definition of ‘reasonableness’. But in order for your conduct to be deemed reasonable, you will probably have to fulfil certain criteria. You must, for example, be able to show that you had a genuine and reasonable belief that the grounds for dismissal were fair. You may also have to show that you told the apprentice that you were considering sacking them, and that you gave them adequate opportunity to appeal. You will also be required to show, where applicable, that you conducted a proper and thorough investigation before dismissing them.

What Procedures Must I Follow?

Employers are required to have a written set of disciplinary and dismissal procedures. These must be drawn up in accordance with the Acas codes of practice, and they must be provided to all employees. You must follow these procedures at all times.

If you fail to abide by your own procedures, or if you do not have any procedures, you will have a much harder time showing that you have dismissed your apprentice fairly and reasonably. You can get the relevant codes of practice from the Acas website.

What About Fixed Term Contracts?

An apprentice’s contract with their employer normally has a specified length – but it is not legally considered to be a fixed term contract. Indeed, the Fixed Term Employees Regulations exclude apprentices altogether.

In practice, apprentices enjoy many more rights than those offered to a worker on a fixed term contract. If you want to dismiss an apprentice, the onus is on you to show that you are not breaking the terms of your agreement with the apprentice.

This has significant implications for dismissal. If you break the terms of the agreement, the apprentice stands a good chance of being awarded at tribunal all the wages they would otherwise have been paid for the length of the contract. You therefore need to be very careful when it comes to dismissing apprentices.

You should consider making sure that your disciplinary procedures, and what you consider to be fair and reasonable grounds for dismissal, are included in the apprentice agreement. This way you stand less chance of being accused of breaking the contract in the event that you have to dismiss an apprentice for one of these reasons. More information about fixed term contracts and apprentices is available elsewhere on this site.

Dismissal is a difficult process, and one that is fraught with potential legal problems. If you are in any doubt you should seek independent advice before taking action.

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Hi my daughter started a apprenticeship in a office. She was there for 5 weeks when she caught a bug the same time others had covid. She went back to early as she was worried about her job. She vomited and she they sent her home. She was back after 4 days. Now 4 months working there with nothing but good words about her she became ill one Friday the next day she received a letter terminating her role with no explanation. She done a covid test that same day and it came back positive. She followed government rules and didn't put others at risk. Also the head in office said to her obviously must have problems at home.Disgusting. To make those points. Can anything be done about this please help
Dylan - 13-Nov-21 @ 8:57 PM
Hi, my 18 year old grandson was sacked by his firm today. He has been employed with them for the past five months as an apprentice welder Fabricator through his college, Skills Group Plymouth. Three weeks ago I received a call from his collegementor who told me after talking to the boss of the company that he was doing really well, that they liked him and that he was a hard worker. They also told her that they were pleased they had taken him on. However, today he was told by that very same boss that he didn’t work hard enough and that he didn’t have enough energy for the job and that he was letting him go. The lad is completely distraught, he doesn’t know why this has happened. Apparently he has received no warnings, no guidance and nothing from his college to substantiate this dismissal. He thought that he was getting on fine and so did we, his family. Is this legal, can the employer just do this? Where does my grandson stand with this please?
Grizz - 23-Aug-21 @ 6:56 PM
Hi, My 19 year old son is right at the end of his apprenticeship in mechanical engineering. He gets paid through an apprenticeship agency, not his work. He can do the job fine, but over the last year and a half his mental health has suffered. He was put on medication last august and a couple of weeks off work, but it didn’t help, it just made him worse. The doctor has only just changed his medication to something else, and because he had to ween himself off the other pills before going onto the news ones, he had a breakdown and didn’t turn into work, which was also the day before a family funeral too. His work have been supportive, but the woman from the apprenticeship agency isn’t and until we have a meeting this week (he is not at work). Can she sack him?
Nicki - 6-Jun-21 @ 1:20 PM
So my son was on a apprenticeship they have stated he has done something against company guidelines, he posted on Facebook if anyone had any jobs fixing cars outside of work, although they didnt give him the guidelines although they have stated he is at the end of his trial and they don't want to keep him I feel they have done this in the wrong way, I'm all for if they had told him he had done something wrong in his work but he hasn't I feel they have used him for 3 months cheap labour then got rid, anyone got any advise? Thank you
Gems - 22-Feb-21 @ 3:56 PM
My son started an apprenticeship as an electrician in September he knew the hours would be long and some travelling but in the last couple of months he has been working in London leaving at 5:30am and getting home some nights after 7 as it’s 2 hours away. This week he was asked by a colleague to stay away mon - fri, working 7:30/8am - 6:30pm as I am writing this he is still not home 7:45pm at 6:00pm he was still at work as they were asked to go to another job elsewhere today after leaving London. He even had to stay up there the previous week which is his college day which is currently online. He had to do his college session and then work when this is finished How do you suggest we approach this as he is 18 and I want to help him resolve this without embarrassing him. Any advice would be appreciated
Libra77 - 29-Jan-21 @ 7:35 PM
Hi I was wondering if you could help me what can I do I was starting my apprenticeship in October as a trainee dental nurse and I was doing really good in my work everything was fine but after 2 month one of the dentist complained that I am working slowly and not picking things quickly and asking same things twice as a trainee I feel that I have to always make sure and ask it is right or wrong how is it fair they decided not keeping me in training anymore because I am working slowly? Please help me I am really stressed what should I do?
Vujju - 31-Dec-20 @ 12:30 AM
Hello, my daughter is a child care apprentice. Today she was suspended for supposedly treating a child roughly (which she is adamant she did not). The playschool are now investigating her but the manager cried when she suspended my daughter. My daughter has been given no advice just asked to leave until further notice. I'm concerned they are looking for anything to pin on her.
Dgfarri - 17-Dec-20 @ 8:55 PM
My daughter as a working interview for apprentice childcare, she's due to go this week, but we are weighing up the pros an the cons, she feels she will benefit more learning wise in the work place rather than college itself,but she's worried as am I, that if she gets offered the apprentice that she's not going to do well an they get rid of her an then its the ball ache of trying to get her back into college to achieve her dreams any help an advice please
Linzi - 9-Nov-20 @ 4:26 PM
My boyfriend's apprenticeship, haven't given him time to complete the apprenticeship qualification instead made him work like the other engineers on less pay. His mangers got him to relocate so he could work full time and now is apprenticeship adviser as basically said there is no way he can complete it in time. He can't do it out of hours, it requires special machinery. Will the company sack him? Cancel the apprenticeship? He is three years in what does he do?
A - 18-Jul-20 @ 12:33 AM
My Son has been told by his doctor not to go to work due to a health issue which he is having scans, blood tests, urine givin to pathology everyday but he isn't in any pain which my Son hates cause he wants to go to work,he walked a hill with his partner where alot of others do this for exercise a person whom knew my Son told his boss now his boss has told him someone has told me you were walking the hill my Son didn't deny this his boss said lm paying you to be home cause he is paid sick leave, now he has a meeting in the morning which we think he may be laying him off he is a 1st yr diesel mechanic my questions are, can he lay him of over this, and does he need to give written warnings. Thankyou
Kylie - 15-May-20 @ 11:29 AM
Hi there, I was wondering if anyone is able to advise me of the following and how I should proceed. I have recently been laid off work as an apprentice 2 days after being informed that I will be a furloughed worker like everyone else in the business. I was informed via a very short phone call that my employer needs to streamline the business and therefore I have ultimately been sacked, this has left me at a huge financial disadvantage at the age of 18 again having to rely on my parents after 18 months of work is humiliating to say the least, especially when I could have been placed on furlough at no cost to my employer. I have searched the internet for an answer however I cannot find a concrete enough answer. Is anyone available to help at all? Anything is appreciated. Many thanks
Lsmith - 8-May-20 @ 1:02 PM
Hi my daughter has been sacked from her apprenticeship.She was original told she could go onto the 80% pay though due to corona.They then rung her to say whilst she has been home the tidied her desk and found something that hadn't been done so they were sacking her.Surely the point of an apprenticeship is to teach them to do things properly. After 3 months if her work wasnt upto scratch she should of had support.I feel that it is just an excuse due to what is going on (I understand that ehats happening is more important) but she is now left devastated.
Catbar - 27-Mar-20 @ 6:15 AM
My boyfriend at level 4 of his electrical apprenticeship 5 months away from qualifying was sacked at the start of the year the day we got back from our holiday over xmas. He wasn't happy in the job as this boss was a huge bully but that was besides the point he put that all to one side knowing that he needed to get qualified so he could just get out of that awful company (but this wasn't the plan!) he knew his boss had some sort of vendetta been sabotaging him for a while as he was putting him on jobs that wouldn't meet his portfolio criteria and putting him with non qualified electricians! so out in out running a completely illegal and unprofessional company. He had tried to look for a new job where he could continue the qualification buthe hadn't had any luck so had decided to stay put and just try and get qualified asap so he could leave. We went away over xmas for 3 weeks then on the day we got back he got a phone call from his boss saying 'there was no work' and unfortunately he was going to have to let him go ?!despite he has just taken his younger son on 3 months earlier as a level 1 apprentice and he kept his job. he was given absolutely no notice whatsoever , no warning nothing and now that's everything just gone all his hard work all his exams gone? Surely something can be done about this ? he feels like his future has literally just crumbled before his eyes! His college the training provider said that if he couldn't find another company in 30 days then his apprenticeship would have to be terminated so now that's it . 3 years work just gone like that. Does he have any rights what can he do??
josh21 - 10-Mar-20 @ 1:18 PM
Hello I have just been dismissed for unauthorised absence from college however I have proof that the days I missed we’re authorised. They also refused to sort out my expenses and this is a big deal to me as I am only 18 and had to drive 128 miles a day to get there and back but nothing was ever sorted can anyone help me
Jay - 20-Dec-19 @ 1:02 PM
I was placed in an apprenticeship program at the age of 52. I recently found that I had completed my third year 2 and a half months earlier but was never informed. I became ill then my employer took a week off so we have not had any contact for three weeks. I found out from the labor board that my employer requested an extension and recieved one because they said I hadn't completed my required hours. I keep all my stubs a calculated that I had in fact worked well over the required hours. This past year I have been treated with a great amount of disrespect from existing and incoming employees due mainly to constantly being pulled off of jobs in the field to clean buckets and used hand tools in the shop. On several occasions my work was intentionally sabotaged in the field however I never once went to the owners about it but keeping all incidents clearly in mind when I was ever asked . I never was.Due to the these and other issues I am led to believe that my employers Habe no intentions of fulfilling the promises of a significant wage increase but I feel they maybe attempting to somehow keep me from recieving my certificate . I have two questions . First can an employer give me two separate job titles without me being informed in order to minimize my apprenticeship hours? Second where and who can I trust to be my advocate when this all comes to pass?
Redstag - 27-Oct-19 @ 3:05 PM
I was placed in an apprenticeship program at the age of 52. I recently found that I had completed my third year 2 and a half months earlier but was never informed. I became ill then my employer took a week off so we have not had any contact for three weeks. I found out from the labor board that my employer requested an extension and recieved one because they said I hadn't completed my required hours. I keep all my stubs a calculated that I had in fact worked well over the required hours. This past year I have been treated with a great amount of disrespect from existing and incoming employees due mainly to constantly being pulled off of jobs in the field to clean buckets and used hand tools in the shop. On several occasions my work was intentionally sabotaged in the field however I never once went to the owners about it but keeping all incidents clearly in mind when I was ever asked . I never was.Due to the these and other issues I am led to believe that my employers Habe no intentions of fulfilling the promises of a significant wage increase but I feel they maybe attempting to somehow keep me from recieving my certificate . I have two questions . First can an employer give me two separate job titles without me being informed in order to minimize my apprenticeship hours? Second where and who can I trust to be my advocate when this all comes to pass?
Tbird - 27-Oct-19 @ 3:03 PM
I was placed in an apprenticeship program at the age of 52. I recently found that I had completed my third year 2 and a half months earlier but was never informed. I became ill then my employer took a week off so we have not had any contact for three weeks. I found out from the labor board that my employer requested an extension and recieved one because they said I hadn't completed my required hours. I keep all my stubs a calculated that I had in fact worked well over the required hours. This past year I have been treated with a great amount of disrespect from existing and incoming employees due mainly to constantly being pulled off of jobs in the field to clean buckets and used hand tools in the shop. On several occasions my work was intentionally sabotaged in the field however I never once went to the owners about it but keeping all incidents clearly in mind when I was ever asked . I never was.Due to the these and other issues I am led to believe that my employers Habe no intentions of fulfilling the promises of a significant wage increase but I feel they maybe attempting to somehow keep me from recieving my certificate . I have two questions . First can an employer give me two separate job titles without me being informed in order to minimize my apprenticeship hours? Second where and who can I trust to be my advocate when this all comes to pass?
Tbird - 27-Oct-19 @ 2:42 PM
I was placed in an apprenticeship program at the age of 52. I recently found that I had completed my third year 2 and a half months earlier but was never informed. I became ill then my employer took a week off so we have not had any contact for three weeks. I found out from the labor board that my employer requested an extension and recieved one because they said I hadn't completed my required hours. I keep all my stubs a calculated that I had in fact worked well over the required hours. This past year I have been treated with a great amount of disrespect from existing and incoming employees due mainly to constantly being pulled off of jobs in the field to clean buckets and used hand tools in the shop. On several occasions my work was intentionally sabotaged in the field however I never once went to the owners about it but keeping all incidents clearly in mind when I was ever asked . I never was.Due to the these and other issues I am led to believe that my employers Habe no intentions of fulfilling the promises of a significant wage increase but I feel they maybe attempting to somehow keep me from recieving my certificate . I have two questions . First can an employer give me two separate job titles without me being informed in order to minimize my apprenticeship hours? Second where and who can I trust to be my advocate when this all comes to pass?
Redstag - 27-Oct-19 @ 2:40 PM
I was placed in an apprenticeship program at the age of 52. I recently found that I had completed my third year 2 and a half months earlier but was never informed. I became ill then my employer took a week off so we have not had any contact for three weeks. I found out from the labor board that my employer requested an extension and recieved one because they said I hadn't completed my required hours. I keep all my stubs a calculated that I had in fact worked well over the required hours. This past year I have been treated with a great amount of disrespect from existing and incoming employees due mainly to constantly being pulled off of jobs in the field to clean buckets and used hand tools in the shop. On several occasions my work was intentionally sabotaged in the field however I never once went to the owners about it but keeping all incidents clearly in mind when I was ever asked . I never was.Due to the these and other issues I am led to believe that my employers Habe no intentions of fulfilling the promises of a significant wage increase but I feel they maybe attempting to somehow keep me from recieving my certificate . I have two questions . First can an employer give me two separate job titles without me being informed in order to minimize my apprenticeship hours? Second where and who can I trust to be my advocate when this all comes to pass?
Red stag - 27-Oct-19 @ 1:05 PM
My son has been working with my brother who is self employed, he was injured at work the company are asking when is he coming back( he had to have micro surgery) it has been 4 weeks since he has been in work does he have any rights?
Nita - 4-Sep-19 @ 6:54 PM
My 18yr old son has worked 2 months as a plumbing apprentice for a one man company that college arranged for him. He has been praised for his work skills and time keeping throughout the 2 months. He also did 1 weeks experience with him before hand. Friday the guy sacked my son on the grounds that he is to quiet, when he is watching the guy to see how to do something he has his hands in his pockets and has leaned against a wall. He gets paid monthly at £3.90 an hour, so he has paid him for three weeks he has worked but given no notice or wage for notice. Can he legally do this? College have agreed the guy is wrong and a bombastic person but they have not been supportive in helping with getting my sons money. My son has tested asking for what is owed but no reply. Can anyone give me advice.
Jude - 31-Aug-19 @ 11:34 PM
Son is 6months into apprentice has been told hasn't past probation period has been given 4 weeks notice where does this leave him can this be done left a levels to start apprenticeship hasnt had a lot of support through apprenticeship including academic side different tutors after all leaving feel has been let down by all sides
Ckcw - 27-Aug-19 @ 10:38 AM
My son was in his 3rd if his apprenticeship, he went to work as normal today and got sacked now he said that he never had any warning from the company at all! He was told that he was not up to the standard he should be by now even though people high up within the company praised him. What I do know is his department was very quiet work wise he was not giving any warning etc about his performance. As you can imagine am angry and heartbroken
Fraz1975 - 23-Jul-19 @ 10:50 PM
Im doing plumbing apprentice and I was dismissed because i fall to off the zink
Khuthala - 17-Jul-19 @ 6:33 AM
My son is/was in his 2nd year apprenticeship as a mechanic. He took some time off in March as I was in hospital..he was called into the office and called a liar and told that he never attended the hospital..I wrote a letter explaining he had been with me añ his boss said that anyone could have written the letter.. 2 months later my son split a run on flat tyre. It had not been put on the customers vehicle and was reported. His bòss had him I'm the office yet again saying they could sack him, but it would be better for him to hand ìn his notice as he wouldn't get a job anywhere else...he felt bullied and manipulated into handing in his notice...when he got home and explained I told him to phone HRand explain the situation. They said they will investigate but we have hears nothing...is he likely to get his job back?
Nicdun - 13-Jun-19 @ 12:07 PM
My daughter is doing a hairdressing apprenticeship and has just turned 19 therefore entitled to a higher hourly rate. She has just been told that her hours of work will be getting cut to 3 days as they can't afford to pay her full week at higher rate. Is this allowed? They are also advertising for another junior even although they are over staffed. Cheap labour?
Nic - 1-Jun-19 @ 5:49 AM
After 8 months in an apprenticeship my son was told he wasn't the apprentice they were looking for and was given a weeks notice. This being the Friday before his week at college so therefore his last day at work. No reason was given. Have noticed on their website they advertised for 2 more apprentices a month ago. What does he do. Will he be able to get a reference.
Mum - 4-May-19 @ 5:11 PM
after being sacked from my apprenticeship the day before pay day, I haven'tbeen paid for the work I did before being sacked. Does my former employer still need to pay me or not?
mike - 22-Feb-19 @ 2:12 PM
My son is in his 2nd year mechanic apprenticeship. He has failed his driving test 5 times now and I believe it's due to the amounting pressure his boss is heaping on him telling him everyone he goes for his test if you fail it your fired. He now has a test this week and his boss yet again has told him if he fails he's sacked and this time he means it. What can he do
Kevman - 4-Dec-18 @ 9:49 PM
My son been on an apprentership for 10 months and sadly got sacked on Monday. This has come totally out of the blue, he has never let the company down. Can they sack him with no warning I.e written or verbal warning? Regards emma
Pod - 1-Nov-18 @ 5:23 PM
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