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Your Rights as an Apprentice

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 10 Jun 2022 | 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 stepson is in his second year as a electrical apprentice. Should his travel time to sites around the country be included in his 40 hours a week contract, or should he be paid extra for his travel time. If he’s having to use his own personal car should his employer pay costs to cover the costs he has to pay to get to a site job. He’s also being sent to sites without a qualified electrician to carry out work. Is it legal for a employer to send them out without a qualified person. Could someone please give me help with some advice please.
Dave - 10-Jun-22 @ 4:22 PM
Started apprentice dispenser course with my local pharmacy on apprentice wages of £4 odd an hour contract started in November and 6 months on i haven't even started yet, doing normal job for apprentice wage, I keep asking when I can start but they keep saying it's not them it's the apprentice people. Now this seems fishy to me?
Cath - 30-May-22 @ 1:41 PM
My son has been doin a apprenticeshipand as not long turned 18. As a parent you want your child to well in life, working, mortgage, car ect. So you put your trust in people. Ie collage, apprenticeship bosses ect, to help your child has a young adult, progress in the world. So when u see that your child is not getting time to go to college, because of the work place. Or being told they need to come in when they are in titled to be off. Or doin 70 hour shift in a weekyou know this isn't right and you wouldn't put up with this yourself. These companies and colleges are allowing young adults to be exploited. Low pay not allowing them to attend courses due to staff cuts, and they still get the funding from college for allowing this. The colleges are NOT doing enough to protect these students, they push forward to do these apprenticeships. I have been into my sons work place and told the boss how discussed I am that he thinks it ok to treat a young once ambitious lad this way, and think he would still want to work for his company,when he's course is completed. It's also discussing that the government and colleges are aware of these matters yet nothing put forward to change. My son has handed in his notice,advised by myself and will find another and better work place. I'd advice you tell your child and grand children to do the same. WE should not allow these young adults to think,being treated this way is ok.
None - 9-May-22 @ 12:22 PM
I started working as an apprentice nearly a year ago now and still have not been put on my course at college , will I still get paid the national minimum wage for my age after a year of working there or can they refuse this as they still have not put me on the course yet so I’m technically not doing the apprentership yet I’ve just been working and getting paid the apprentership wage ,however they have been saying they are putting me on it for the last few months now and still have not
Ajc - 7-May-22 @ 10:23 PM
My Granddaughter is doing an apprenticeship within a private nursery school (who are currently understaffed) the training is all in house, she doesn’t attend college but has has regular meetings with a trainer from an independent training provider most of the course work is given via email and returned to the trainer to be assessed and feedback given,however no time is given to complete any of these assessments or coursework within her working hours, it is expected of her to cover this in the evenings or during the weekend, (which she has been doing over the past 12 months) on occasion when she has asked for help from seniors within the workplace it hasn’t been very forthcoming, so she just struggles on researching from books or online advice.A few months into her apprenticeship her then tutor had applied through access to work for funding for some equipment that was assessed she could benefit from as she has dyslexia and epilepsy, however as yet this does not appear to be forthcoming, when she enquired about this to her manager she was advised this was because the owner of the nursery refused to pay their contribution. (I have told her to ask if either myself or her parents could pay this part as it would be to her benefit but she is too embarrassed to ask). Can you advise if she should have some sort of mentor within the work place to help with certain aspects of the course, I ask this because her latest assignment is in regards to daily plans and how they are used within her workplace setting. Firstly her tutor sent this out the day she was going on annual leave but forgot to include the attachment to the email so my granddaughter had to wait 2 weeks until the tutor returned from her AL, (she did ask the other apprentice to forward a copy but she kept forgetting) then on receiving the attachment went to one of the seniors in her setting to ask for help and a copy of the plans she could use, however after being passed on to another senior where she got no help either, she was the berated in the kitchen by one senior member of staff with another member of staff in the same room and the door open for all in sundry to hear, she came out of work in tears that night. Then to add insult to injury she went to the managers office to ask a question only to discover the other apprentice sitting with the manager getting help to do the assignment during the working day. As I said my Grandaughter has epilepsy (absence seizures) and although mainly under control with medication and a regular sleep pattern stress is one thing she tries to avoid as this is a big trigger for her seizures.Can you give some advice on whether a mentor should be provided by the workplace and if time should be set aside during the working hours to complete assignments. Any advice would be very much appreciated.
GranD - 4-May-22 @ 2:25 AM
I have worked for a plumbing company for a year and a half , I had to renew my cscs card and therefore can’t get on-site until I do so , should I get payed these days that I can’t go on-site
Tel - 29-Mar-22 @ 5:40 PM
My son is a apprentice .if his emplyor goes on holiday is my son still entilted to his wage .
Angela Dockerty - 26-Mar-22 @ 11:24 PM
I am doing an apprenticeship in a pharmacy for last 6 months, I have been on time with classes and completed coursework on time. However I'm not happy in the environment but this course means alot. Is there any way I can carry on the course either by volunteering in another pharmacy or paying for course as I don't want to lose what I have already got
Keira hopper - 27-Sep-21 @ 9:26 AM
I have been offered an apprenticeship from a college and the start is immediate, one day college 4 days with different employers, however I am interested in an apprenticeship with an employer in the same field however I am still in the application process for that and do not know if I will be accepted, should I wait to see if I get accepted by the employer and possibly miss the chance of the apprenticeship with the college or should I start with the college and if the employer accepts me then leave? However the employer will not take me if I am working towards the same field already.
Kev - 19-Sep-21 @ 8:44 AM
My son started for a company as apprentice in January this year but still hasn’t been to collage some eight months laterand is paid an apprenticeship wage for an 18 yr old which is a lot less than min wage is this correct or should his apprenticeship wage only of started when he goes to collage
Tj - 1-Sep-21 @ 1:03 AM
My daughter is doing an apprenticeship at a nursery .it is all in house she’ doesn’t attend college has monthly meetings with her tutor online butShe is given no time to do her coursework within the working hours, both the nursery and tutor have suggested she does this at weekends and evenings she is now behind as she’s too tired to do this . This seems a lot to except on a very low wage.Is it the college or workplace who are at fault ?
Jules - 17-Aug-21 @ 10:24 PM
My partner is doing his 2nd year apprenticeship at a family business, he has been receiving mental abuse from his boss who is also a family member for a while now, which he was bravely taking on his chest, and trying to ignore it as much as possible.A recent act of mental abuse has put my partner in a difficult position, he chose to leave rather than being horribly treated any second longer.We are looking for advise what to do, as my partner would still love to pursue his career and continue with his apprenticeship in another placement.
Anna - 26-Jul-21 @ 11:56 PM
If I leave my apprenticeship early, is there any way i can continue with my qualification. I have done all the work but i cannot do my end point assessment until the beginning of September. Is there any way at all i can still do it even though i would have left. For example pay for the course myself to finish.
Gemma - 24-Jun-21 @ 11:21 AM
I'm an 19 year old apprentice 10 months into my 1 year chef apprenticeship. I'm working in a kitchen where we are understaffed. They have me doing things that's I'm not comfortable with, like back to back 12 hours shifts and working alone in a kitchen. What are my rights?
Jako2099 - 10-Jun-21 @ 10:53 PM
I am 18 and have recently passed my level 2 hairdressing and have been working as a graduate stylist but I am still getting paid an apprentice wage is this correct or should I be on minimum wage?
Amy - 6-May-21 @ 6:43 PM
I was brought on as an apprentice for my new job. I was due to start my apprenticeship within the first few weeks of starting. Due to covid my course was pushed back - however it’s now April and I still haven’t started my apprenticeship and I started in October. I’m doing a full time job but being paid apprenticeship wage. Is there anything I can do?
Tj - 20-Apr-21 @ 11:53 AM
My boyfriend is an apprentice and he works shift but doesn’t get paid shift pay - like he works unsocial hours some weeks and other weeks he doesn’t, should he be entitled to shift pay?
MummyB - 2-Apr-21 @ 11:27 PM
I have completed one year out of a 15 month course and I have not receivedmy increase of hourly pay. I am age 20 and work full time in a primary school but when I got my payslip for this month, it is still based on the 4.20 hourly rate rather than the increase.
georgia - 24-Mar-21 @ 3:31 PM
Can anyone tell me if a 17 year old apprentice is allowed by law to work the occasional night shift. My son has been working nights (which I have no problem with) but just wondering if this actually allowed?
Jacqui - 14-Mar-21 @ 12:27 PM
I am in my final year of a four year apprenticeship I have been working a four on four off shift pattern due to COVID from 7-530 my boss has now decided due to the tradesmen refusing to do a 4pm-2:30 am shift even for extra he’s now decided we need “training” in blasting and is making all apprentices pick up the shift without a choice is this legal? What are my options?
RJ - 4-Mar-21 @ 7:47 AM
Hi I’m 2 years into my apprenticeship and am currently on maternity leave, if I choose not to go back will I be made to pay for my course?
KR - 18-Feb-21 @ 6:43 PM
My 19 year old granddaughter is on a 3 year engineering apprenticeship. She is currently in her 2nd year and has been working a two shift work pattern. 6am - 2pm and 2pm - 10pm since last November.She hasbeen told she is not eligible for shift allowance, although the previous 2 male apprentices did receive it whilst working in the same post. Can anyone advise please. Thanks.
Cally - 16-Feb-21 @ 8:36 PM
Hi guys. I have qualified in all areas of my training following the completion of an apprenticeship programme. I am still however being paid apprentice wage and I am being told I am "Not Ready" to be a full time electrician, so as such they have decided at the moment to keep me employed at my apprentice wage. I have been qualified for over 2 months now, and I am not being given any updates and when I go to get any it is brushed under the rug or the can is kicked down the path so to speak. Any legal advice would be greatly appreciated. I want to earn the wage I should be on and move forward with my life. Big thanks in advance Roger
Roge - 16-Feb-21 @ 6:56 PM
My daughter is almost 18 she has been doing an apprenticeship at a hair salon whilst attending college, she received an email last night saying her apprenticeship has been put on hold until this pandemic, so she won’t receive any wage, is there anything she maybe entitled to money wise? Thank you.
Nikki - 15-Feb-21 @ 5:51 AM
Hi my son is 20 and in hid 2nd year of an apprenticeship. His boss asked him to work and out of hours shift that all other employees gain a set rate which is nuch higher than the normal rate. He has been told he would still only get his apprenticeship wage which is minimum wage. Is this right or can they not do this.
Des264 - 8-Feb-21 @ 2:19 PM
My son is on last year if 3 year apprenticeship but due to increased workload they have changed his shift to 2-10.30 pm so he is unable to attend his college day .Originally was for a couple of weeks but now his boss says that it was not a business decision to stop him going to college but his own .This was not the case as they needed him to look after new starters .His boss says he can go to college on a morning in his own time-and then go to work straight after to do his shift .The training is supposed to be in works time and paid and he would be still missing part of his college day .Where can he go with this as it’s a shame as he only has a few months to finish his qualifications.
Kaze - 5-Dec-20 @ 10:01 PM
I started my business admin apprenticeship in march, i have 70% of it done and i have worked harder than ever, the reason i am struggling to complete it is because i had to leave my last job as i was being treating unfairly and poorly and the health and safety regulations where none existent, i had a very stressful and upsetting time there. now i am searching for another vacant but no one wants to take an apprentice who it due to finish within a few months, i am struggling for money and really want to finish my work to get my qualification, how can i go about completing. can i complain and complete the end without a job if it’s only the exam and a tiny bit of coursework left. thanks .
daisy - 30-Nov-20 @ 2:01 PM
My son is three years into a four year apprenticeship however his company are no longer sending him to college. Is this right? Can he still be an apprentice if they are not educating him?
Jay - 18-Nov-20 @ 3:48 PM
My grandaughter is doing an apprenticeship in a nursing home she's doing 12hr shifts and is not getting hardly any study time, the company said she would get one study day a week which she could do at work, but she only been getting one a month and that's only if they are fully staffed and it's only 6hrs is this right.
J - 15-Nov-20 @ 10:36 AM
My daughter has started an apprenticeship through the government website. Since starting they have put her on a rota to work on call all weekends. They are not paying her to do this. So a 7 day working week. They won’t let her go to college to learn. And last but not least they made her go in when she was told she has to isolate through test and trace. I don’t know what she can do. There doesn’t seem to be any channel to talk to. Please can you advise me?
emma - 13-Nov-20 @ 6:04 PM
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Latest Comments
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    Re: Your Rights as an Apprentice
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