What you Need to Know When Taking on an Apprentice

If you've been thinking about taking on one or more apprentices as a way to fill skills gaps in a cost effective way, taking advantage of the various apprenticeship grants that are often available, you probably have a selection of questions when it comes to things like their rights, pay and training.

In this article we run through some of the most frequently asked questions about apprentices to help you obtain a clearer picture before you make your decision.

Question: Are Apprentices Entitled to Statutory Pay?

Answer: Yes. There is a special set National Minimum Wage (NMW) for apprentices who are aged between 16 and 18 years or who are over 19 and in their first year of the apprenticeship. Anyone else on an apprenticeship scheme is entitled to the NMW applicable to their age. You can of course set your own pay rates, as long as they meet or exceed the NMW. You must also ensure your apprentices are given at least 30 hours work per week.

Question: Do I have to give the Apprentice a Permanent Position on Completion of their Contract?

Answer: No, there is no legal requirement for you to provide an apprentice with a permanent job. The apprenticeship contract lasts only for the duration of the training, so when this is complete, you are at liberty to not renew it. If you do this, it will be treated as a dismissal and you will need to provide a written reason. The ACAS Dismissal Code will apply, but you will not need to provide a notice period. Further, you will not be required to source alternative employment for the apprentice.

Question: Do Apprenticeships Have to Last a Certain Amount of Time?

Answer: Yes. An apprenticeship must last for a fixed period and this should be agreed at the start and stated in the contract. Apprentices aged between 16 and 18 years are entitled to a contract of at least 12 months. Other apprenticeships will usually last for anything between one and four years and this will depend on the time required to attain the qualifications and skills required for the job.

Question: What Does an Apprenticeship Need to Include?

Answer: There are numerous things that must be included in an apprenticeship. These range from work experience, on the job training and study release so that official qualifications can be attained. Your goal is for the apprentice to develop knowledge and skills around a qualification and you will need to have a fixed programme in place to enable them to do so. Other requirements include the monitoring, mentoring and support.

Question: How do I Deal with Apprentices in Regard to Employment Law?

Answer: You must treat an apprentice as you would any other employee regarding pay, leave and things like disciplinary matters. Apprentices are fully covered by the Working Time Regulations.

If you are thinking about hiring an apprentice and could use some assistance and advice, talk to your bookkeepers who will be able to answer any further questions you may have and get you ready for your new intake.

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