An employer’s guide to an Apprentice Contract

Written by Martha Mitchell
29 June, 2022
An employer’s guide to an Apprentice Contract

Did you know that an apprenticeship contract requires different terms from an ordinary employment contract? Whilst an apprentice is still an employee, apprentices need to undertake training with a specified provider. 

Ensuring that you have a correct apprenticeship contract is important to ensure that your employee is properly classified as an apprentice. This can be vital in terms of funding from the government, as well as in pay, as apprentices are entitled to £4.81 per hour, which is below the national minimum wage for many age brackets. Apprentices aged over 18 are entitled to £4.81 for the first year of their apprenticeship. Ensuring your employee is properly classified as an apprentice is, therefore, crucial to avoid any potential national minimum wage claims. 

This guide will walk you through some of the unique aspects of an apprenticeship contract compared to a regular employment contract. For details on what should be included in a regular contract, check here.

Fixed-term nature

We recommend that all apprenticeship contracts are fixed-term in nature. This ensures that even if your apprentice fails their training or course, the employment relationship will automatically come to an end.

This can save you a headache in dismissing an employee after their course or training has ended – if you do not want to continue on with them, or if they have failed their training.

As discussed in our fixed-term contract blog here, this should include a fixed-term contract clause, specifying the dates during which the apprenticeship is expected to take place, and a specifically drafted break clause to reduce risk and to ensure that the contract will come to an end properly.

You should also be aware of the fixed-term Employees (Prevention of less favourable treatment) Regulations, and should ensure that you comply. If you are ever unsure, give one of our lawyers a call for a free consultation.

Hours of work and training

A contract should state the hours and days of work, as required by the Employment Rights Act. However, an apprenticeship contract should also state the name of the training provider, as well as the days on which the apprentice is to attend training if fixed.

The contract should also state the qualification that the apprentice is working towards, as well as its level. The skill, trade or occupation the apprentice is being trained for should also be clearly stated. 

It is also important to ensure that you cover misconduct regarding training sessions in the contract – such as nonattendance or inappropriate behavior – and reiterate that such misconduct could cause disciplinary action and in serious cases, dismissal.

Pay

There are a number of considerations to make when it comes to an apprentices’ pay. It is important that you have specific regard for the national minimum wage and how this interacts with apprenticeship employment. 

At the time of writing, the apprenticeship wage is £4.81 per hour. This applies to all apprentices under the age of 18, and for apprentices over and including the age of 19 this applies in the first year of the apprenticeship. 

As mentioned above, it is important to recognise this to ensure that you are complying with the law. If you are employing an apprentice who is 19 or over or an apprentice that will turn 19 during the apprenticeship, ensure that they are paid the national minimum wage after the first year to avoid any potential claims. 

In addition, you should state that the apprentice will be paid for the time that they attend training.

Holidays

It is important to remember that an apprentice will continue to accrue holiday entitlement even when they are at their training provider. If you are ever unsure about how much holiday entitlement an employee has, give us a call – we would be happy to calculate annual leave for your staff and answer any query you may have.

Other clauses – Protect your Business!

As with all contracts, there is a range of clauses we recommend including protecting your business and giving you, as the employer, more rights in an employment relationship.

Specifically drafted clauses such as a Deductions clause, Variation clause, Pay in lieu of notice, garden leave clause, post-termination restrictions, and more.

These clauses can help you to take back control of your business and give you additional rights and powers for dealing with your staff. You should ensure that your contracts are legally compliant and up to date with all of the latest changes. Call now for a free contract review.

 

Employment Law Solutions offer Employment Law advice and can assist with your contract, handbooks, and any other employment or HR issue you have, including tribunal claims.. By offering a monthly retainer service you are able to benefit from legal advice and employment contract reviews 24/7, 365 days, all while spreading the cost over 12 monthly payments.

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