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Your Rights as an Apprentice

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 1 Apr 2024 | 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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My 16yr old daughter wants to do an apprenticeship but she has to leave home for it and that means she has to pay for student housing rent but the wage is really low and not enough money to cover everything what should she do?
RY - 1-Apr-24 @ 4:22 PM
My daughter is an apprentice, she is being made work bank holidays and told she is only allowed 4 Saturdays off a year and 20 days annual leave. However her contact states 20 days annual leave plus bank holidays, so for example this year she should get 27 days annual leave?! Or it that wrong?!
Gmacc - 28-Mar-24 @ 9:04 PM
My daughter is doing an apprenticeship in a hair salon, she is contracted to a minimum of 30 and maximum of 40hrs, every week she is being told not come in and to take unpaid leave, only done 2 days this week, is this legal?
Jac - 15-Mar-24 @ 8:32 PM
My daughter has done 2 weeks of her apprenticeship but has had to leave due to personal circumstances. Will she get paid for the 2 weeks that she worked? Thanks, Dad
M - 25-Feb-24 @ 10:57 PM
My partner has been employed by a company as a nursery assistant for 6 months. They are now trying to force her into an apprenticeship to try and avoid paying her minimum wage. She is working towards a government funded vocational qualification which was started at the same time as her employment. The company has said that ‘technically’ she should be on a lower wage as an apprentice and therefore is not entitled to the new minimum wage for her age, even though an apprenticeship has never been mentioned until this point.
Cam - 25-Jan-24 @ 9:09 PM
My daughter started an apprenticeship 4 months ago, is being paid the minimum £5.28 but has not started an official apprenticeship scheme whilst working. Is this against the law as they keep saying they will start it soon? Many thanks
Mel - 23-Jan-24 @ 11:28 AM
My son is an apprentice, he started around 3 months ago, he is paid weekly, however he.hasnt been paid for nearly 3 weeks by his employer, my son has financial commitments, he's currently using all his savings and borrowing money off me to pay phone bills, subs and money for food etc. I don't know if I should get involved and contact the boss or leave it to my son to sort out, or should I contact the college etc ? I need some desperate advice in what to do Cheers
Nik - 26-Nov-23 @ 9:09 PM
I have been an apprentice for 4 years at an engineering company and it has been a mess, should’ve ended up with a Level 2 and 3 and haven’t even been signed off on level 2 yet. However my company has now put me through a HNC and I started this last month, in theory I’m not an apprentice anymore as this isn’t an apprenticeship course however they still see me as that in the workplace. My boss has now decided to say we cannot take holiday or any form of leave on our day release day at college, this includes him saying any doctors or hospital appointments must be rearranged and no holidays will be authorised for that day, even if we book off a full week to go away. Is he allowed to do this? Usually holidays are very relaxed here I could book tomorrow off now and it will be authorised however he is being different with college days.
JR - 30-Oct-23 @ 12:49 PM
Hello I was offered and apprenticeship in finance level 3 ( I have completed level 2 in 2020 ) in April this year because I wanted to leave my position as head barista. My apprenticeship started in September but I haven't had the opportunity to work in the field yet . For this reason my apprenticeship provider decided to put it on hold untill my company will fit me in the finance role . I work for I big company which hold 35 different small companies and yet they haven't found a role suitable for my . I'm devastated knowing that I can't complete it and I would like what are my rights and what can I do in order to continue with my apprenticeship.
Marcy - 28-Oct-23 @ 4:08 PM
My daughter on her second week on a hairdressing apprenticeship has a contract 40 hours been told to take 2 days off unpaid as the salon is quite is this right
Shaz - 16-Sep-23 @ 12:58 PM
Good day, My son is still waiting to be signed off of his three year engineering apprenticeship and he is now just starting his fifth year with the company. Two years into the apprenticeship scheme the company found they had put him on the wrong course with the partnering college. There has been, and still is ongoing, multiple issues regarding the college/work liason tutor. Primarily due to changes in staff, no comprehensive handover, and constant failure to deliver previously agreed forward moving plans. Adding to this, when almost so close to finally getting an agreed sign off for his remaining module (not in his area of interest due to the course mixup) the company, who previously promised him time in the department and use of the equipment he is to be tested on, the very next working day they tell him no can do as they have an order to complete. Now I understand a business is a business but we are now going into year five and I wonder how long can they keep doing this for? How can we essentially 'force' the company and the college to resolve this ongoing mess of an apprenticeship? The company has promised him as soon as this apprenticeship has been sorted out they will go back through the college to arrange the assessment and observation to sign off for the original skillset that he has been trained to do for the apprenticeship he was supposed to have been on originally, however, I am sure you can guess my concerns. It has been an anxiety inducing affair for my son, and us as his parents, to watch helplessly as he has done everything required of him to complete an incorrect course that is not in his specific choice of career and then watch the goal posts being continually moved. He is stuck! I am therefore asking, please, for any advice that you can offer us. Kindest regards, Vicky
Worried Mother - 7-Sep-23 @ 8:56 AM
Advice needed, my sister (24) is currently doing an apprenticeship she does do 1 day a week at at hair and beauty college, when she’s not attending college if there closed ectthe employer is expecting her to work on another dayfor an 6-8 hour shift unpaid , and has just this week asked her to also work an additional 2 hours on one of her shifts unpaid ….. am I right I’m thinking that she should be paid for every working hour she does no matter the circumstances.
H - 24-Aug-23 @ 4:40 PM
My son is an electrical installation Apprentice but his company does not have any contracts to work on so this means my son can’t work . And he dies want to take annual leave. Should the company still pay him?
DMM - 23-Jul-23 @ 6:26 PM
My son is on his second year apprentice, his boss books holidays and tells him I'm away so your on holiday too, my son can't book holidays with family as his bosses dates don't correspond with ours. He is told he is only due 25 days holiday per year, and even if he has worked Monday to Friday his boss makes him work some Saturday's which interfere with his football career, His boss also says he will not get a pay rise until he has passed his drivers licence, what can be done about this mostly making him taking his holidays when told too.
Wull - 11-Jul-23 @ 9:22 PM
My son is being taken away from home for afew days with work, will he get paid the whole time is away and will meals and accommodation be paid for by the employer?
Lmb - 25-Jun-23 @ 12:58 PM
My son has been an apprentice for nearly 2 years. His boss goes on holiday quite a bit and also when he has no work my son can't work..in both situations he doesn't get paid. College has already spoke to his boss but he's not changed his ways, my son doesn't feel comfortable talking to his boss about this. Surely as an employer he has to pay my son as it is his decision not to work ?
Shell - 6-Jun-23 @ 5:39 PM
I am quitting an apprenticeship due to being offered a better rate of pay in a different occupation and the place of work for the apprenticeship is making me pay for the apprenticeship out of my final wage, is this even legal? Where do i stand with this?
Ryan - 26-Apr-23 @ 9:16 PM
My son is an apprentice electrician and has been told he has to work bank holidays and has to take 14 days holiday at Christmas out if he’s holiday entitlement. Is this correct. Thank you in advance John
John Judge - 10-Apr-23 @ 10:14 AM
Started an apprenticeship a couple of months ago and now being asked to use my own car to meet up with colleague at his house or on site and not at main office. My car insurance only covers me for commenting to my single place of work. Company is not paying me any car expenses even though I am doing extra mileage and I should get extra insurance cover. Are they legally entitled to get me to use my car and if they do should they cover my additional costs ?
henry - 30-Mar-23 @ 9:06 AM
My college sent me home today as I forgot my overalls wasn’t offered a spare pit or to do any theory work instead. I get a 2 hour train and pay out of my own money to get there. Do I have to go back to work or home?
Luis - 15-Mar-23 @ 10:26 AM
TAY - 7-Mar-23 @ 9:46 AM
My son is an apprentice anx his boss has gone on holiday so he isnt in work does he still need to pay him his wages
Kay - 13-Jan-23 @ 3:47 PM
My son is doing a business admin apprenticeship and he doesn'thave anything to do. In a addition he is being asked to throw away rubbish and other duties which are not related to admin and he is not learning anything. He started in September 22. If he leaves can he do the same apprenticeship at another company
Hallzm - 12-Jan-23 @ 1:29 PM
My son an apprentice brick worker Does he get paid when bad weather stops work He has been paid when rained off butwith this frost the others fully qualified bricklayers so no point in even going into work Hence he couldn’t aswell
Muzzy - 19-Dec-22 @ 5:25 PM
I’m currently paid monthly. I qualified my apprentice up on the 10/11/22. My employer told me that I was still to be paid apprenticeship wage for this month as I’m paid monthly? Is this correct or should I have been paid my correct minimum wage once I qualified?Did I need a new contractonce I qualified as I was no longer an apprentice? If I could have some advice please
Squiggle - 4-Dec-22 @ 4:05 PM
My son is doing a joinery apprenticeship. His employer won’t pay him for college days. I thought he had to be paid for these. He is getting £96 a week. It’s not even paying his travel. Does anyone know is this right?
Mum0f3 - 2-Dec-22 @ 7:08 PM
My daughter keeps getting her hours cut and doesn't get paid for days off ordered by her employer is this allowed or does the employer still have to pay her. Thanks
Watto - 30-Nov-22 @ 5:43 PM
Hi, my daughter is a 19 yr old hairdressing apprentice. As an example, she opens the salon at 8am, joined by another colleague at some point, yesterday in particular was booked in for clients all day until 7pm closing. She was allowed a 20 min break at 10.30 and had no more for the day! Her employer left the premises at 4pm, and my daughter was expected to make sure all was okay, as in appliances off etc before locking up a double door to salon which is opposite a pub where last night was particularly busy as England football game! As a 19 yr old apprentice, does she have any rights for this not to occur again please? Many thanks
Steph - 26-Nov-22 @ 10:25 AM
Can an apprentice age ,16 or 17 work till 8pm if it's within there 40 hrs a week
Bobdog - 24-Nov-22 @ 9:51 AM
Have failed my first exam by three percent. Have arranged resit date but told I have to take a days annual leave is this correct?
Roscoe - 17-Nov-22 @ 7:44 PM
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