Frequently Asked Questions

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Apprentices - FAQs

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is work-based training. Becoming an apprentice means that you have a job that will include gaining recognised qualifications and essential skills whilst you’re working, learning and earning a monthly wage.

There are three different types of apprenticeships. A foundation apprenticeship, apprenticeship,  and a higher apprenticeship. This is because different jobs need different levels of qualifications, some are higher than others. normally when you look at the vacancy you want to apply for it will tell you the level of apprenticeship and what they include.

Who can do an Apprenticeship?

Anyone in England aged 16 years old and above, whether employed, unemployed or leaving school. There is no age limit. There are no formal qualifications needed to do an apprenticeship however some employers may ask for GCSEs (A-C) in English, Maths and Science.

What is the minimum pay for an Apprentice based on age?

As an Employer, you must make sure all your Apprentices receive an Apprenticeship Pay of £3.70 from April 2018 for all the time they are on their Apprenticeships This includes time working plus the time spent training both on and off the job. This includes time spent at college/or off-site with a provider.

Apprentices aged 19 or over who have already spent a year on their Apprenticeship must be paid at least the full National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate appropriate to their age.

The Apprentice NMW applies to all new and existing Apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over in the first year of their Apprenticeship. The NMW does not affect those Apprentices aged 19 or over who have already completed a year of their Apprenticeship – they will continue to be entitled to be paid at least at the full NMW rate appropriate to the apprentice age.

NMW rates from April 2018:

Current rates

These rates are for the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage from April 2018.

Year25 and over       21 to 24      18 to 20      Under 18     Apprentice
From April 2018£7.83£7.38£5.90£4.20£3.70
From April 2017 to March 2018£7.50£7.05£5.60£4.05£3.50

A new rate will apply to the next pay reference period that begins on or after the date:

  • a rate increase begins
  • an employee reaches a new age bracket.

For example: an employee paid on the 20th of each month will start to receive the new rate of the minimum wage from 21 April onwards.

Will I have to take any exams?

Most assessment is carried out in the workplace but there may be a requirement to take some apprenticeship exams on or off-site. An Apprenticeship is a package of work and on and off the job training. It is right that Apprentices are paid for all the time they are on the Apprenticeship. That includes training time.

How long does an Apprenticeship last for?

The length of your Apprenticeship will depend on which framework you are following and your abilities. A typical Apprenticeship can take anywhere between 1 to 4 years to complete, depending on the level of Apprenticeship and the industry sector. As a baseline, a level 2 Apprenticeship typically takes between 12 to 18 months to complete, whereas a level 3 will take around 24 months (2 years).

Do I have to be full-time?

All apprentices must be offered 30-40 hours per week which makes the apprenticeship full-time. However, apprentices with caring responsibilities can be offered part-time if agreed with the employer can work for a minimum of 16 hours per week.

Employers - FAQs

What are my responsibilities as an Employer?

Apprentices are employees and should usually be employed for at least 30 hours per week. As the employer, you would be responsible for paying their wages and providing on-the-job training. Off-the-job training would usually be delivered by a training provider.

Do apprentices have to pay Tax and National Insurance?

As is the case of all employees aged over 16, Apprentices must still pay tax and national insurance on their income.

Is there a limit to the number of Apprentices I can take on?

No, they can take on as many as they need – and often in more than one framework. The Employer will be responsible for giving the Apprentice an induction into their role as they provide on-the-job training.

Do I have to pay an Apprentice holidays?

Like most other employees, Apprentices must be given at least 20 days’ paid holiday per year as well as bank holiday entitlement. Annual leave should be agreed when an employee starts work.

Once an employee starts work details of holidays and apprenticeship holiday pay entitlement should be found in the employee’s written contract, where there is one, or a written statement of employment particulars given to employees by their employer. Note: The written statement is required by law and must be given to employees by the Employer no later than two months after the start of employment.

Most workers – whether part-time or full-time – are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave.

Additional annual leave may be agreed as part of a worker’s contract. A week of leave should allow workers to be away from work for a week – i.e. it should be the same amount of time as the working week. If a worker does a five-day week, he or she is entitled to 28 days leave. If he or she does a three-day week, the entitlement is 16.8 days leave.

Employers can set the times that workers take their leave, for example for a Christmas shutdown. If a worker’s employment ends, he or she has a right to be paid for the leave time due and not taken. Public holidays There is no legal right to paid leave for public holidays; any rights to paid time off for these holidays depends on the terms of a worker’s contract. Paid public holidays can be counted as part of the statutory 5.6 weeks of holiday.

General Employment - FAQs

Statutory Maternity Pay

PAY Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid for up to 39 weeks. You get: * 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks * £139.58 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks. Tax and National Insurance will be deducted. START DATE SMP usually starts when you take your maternity leave It starts automatically if you’re off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the week (Sunday to Saturday) that your baby is due ELIGIBILTY You qualify for Statutory Maternity leave if: * you’re an employee *you give your employer the correct notice It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been with your employer, how many hours you work or how much you get paid You qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay if: * you earn on average at least £112 a week * you give the correct notice * you give proof you’re pregnant * you have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks up to the qualifying week – the 15th week before the expected week of the childbirth If you are not eligible for SMP your employer must give you form SMP1 explaining why within 7 days of making their decision. For more information and support please go to: www.gov.uk

Who can get Statutory Sick Pay?

If you’re working for an employer under a contract of service (even if you’ve only just started and you have done some work), you’re entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if the following apply: you’re sick for at least four days in a row (including weekends and bank holidays and days that you do not normally work) you have average weekly earnings of at least £112 a week Your average weekly earnings are worked out by using your earnings in the eight weeks before your sickness began. What happens if you can’t get SSP? If you cannot get SSP or SSP has ended your employer must fill in form SSP1 and give this to you. On the form, your employer must say why SSP has not been paid or why it is ending and the last date of payment. Form SSP1 is used to support a claim for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). It is important that your employer give this form to you as soon as possible. Without the information on the form, a decision on your entitlement to ESA cannot be made which may delay payment.

Night working

The laws around night working and night workers are very complicated. Generally speaking, Young Workers can’t work between 10.00 pm to 6.00 am (but you can agree to change this to between 11.00 pm to 7.00 am). However, there are a few exceptions if you work in: hospitals, agriculture, retail, hotels or catering and post or newspaper delivery. You can work into the night if it’s crucial to your job, but only if you need to either: maintain continuity of service or production respond to an increase in demand for service or product and there is no adult available to perform the task your employer makes sure that your training needs do not suffer you are allowed to take a rest period the same length as the time you worked later in the day

Working time limits

A Young Worker cannot usually be made to work more than eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. These hours cannot be averaged over a longer period and you’re not allowed to ignore these restrictions. You’ll only be able to work longer hours if you either need to: keep the continuity of service or production respond to a surge in demand for a service or product and provided that: there is no adult available to do the work your training needs are not negatively affected The apprentice hours of work if you are older than this is 48, but that can be averaged over a 17 week period.

Rest breaks

Young Workers who need to work for more than four and a half hours will get a rest break of 30 minutes. If you are working for more than one employer, the time you work for each one should be added together to see if you can have a rest break. Rest breaks must be: taken in one block taken somewhere in the middle of your work period, not at the end spent away from the place where you work if you want them to be taken when your employer says you can, as long as it meets these conditions Daily rest Young Workers get 12 uninterrupted hours’ rest in each 24-hour period in which you work. These 12 hours may be interrupted if your periods of work are split up over the day or do not last long. Weekly rest Young Workers must take two days off each week. This cannot be averaged over a two-week period (meaning you can’t work an extra day one week and take more days off the following one, even if you are trying to earn a little extra cash). These two days’ rest should also be taken together with no working in between them.

Working time limits

A Young Worker cannot usually be made to work more than eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. These hours cannot be averaged over a longer period and you’re not allowed to ignore these restrictions. You’ll only be able to work longer hours if you either need to: keep the continuity of service or production respond to a surge in demand for a service or product and provided that: there is no adult available to do the work your training needs are not negatively affected The apprentice hours of work if you are older than this is 48, but that can be averaged over a 17 week period.