Your Rights as an Apprentice
Everyone deserves to be treated fairly in the workplace, and that includes apprentices.
So whether you’ve just started an apprenticeship, you’ve been in one for a few years, or you’re thinking about getting into one, it’s worth knowing and keeping in mind what your rights and entitlements are. (Because they’re not dissimilar to any other employee!)
- Working Hours
As an apprentice you will be expected to work at least 30 hours a week, however, if you’re under 18 you cannot work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. If you are under 18 you are also entitled to at least 12 hours off inbetween shifts and at least 24 hours in a row off from working each week. Your working hours include any time you spend training.
You’re entitled to the same amount of holiday time as other employees – which is a minimum of 20 days paid leave per year; check with your employer and contract for further details and information on what holidays you get.
Apprentices have a slightly different wage structure to other employees. As an apprentice aged 16-18 you’re entitled to a wage of at least £3.70/hour. A lot of providers pay a higher wage than this, and if you are paid a higher wage than this as an apprentice, your employer must continue to pay that rate for the remainder of your training or until you become eligible for full national minimum wage.
If you are aged 19 and have also completed the first year of your apprenticeship, you’ll be entitled to minimum wage.
- Fair Treatment
As an apprentice, you are entitled to the same workplace perks and benefits as any other full-time employee. For example, if your employer provides employees with childcare vouchers, then you’d be entitled to these as an apprentice as well.
Additionally, you are entitled to the same amount of rest breaks, holidays and sick pay as other employees, and should be treated fairly in all aspects of your work.
For apprentices in Scotland, dismissal and redundancy is a tricky right to pin down. Apprentices have the same rights when it comes to being made redundant or dismissed from their position as all employees.
However, for Modern Apprentices, your employer cannot simply dismiss you on the basis that they cannot afford to keep you as this would be a breach of contract. If you are unsure about why you are being dismissed from your apprenticeship, and not sure if it is fair, seek advice from ACAS as you may be able to receive compensation from your employer.