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FDR Law Legal Clinic - Apprenticeships

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FDR Law Legal Clinic Legal advice from Parveen Bunglawala, Employment Associate Solicitor, based at FDR Law’s office in Warrington

Q: I’m a small business owner and am considering taking on our first Apprentice, what do we need to consider from an employer view point?

A: Apprenticeships are training programmes for the over 16s that provide valuable work based knowledge,, as well as the opportunity to learn from experienced workers with day release training leading to nationally recognised qualifications.

Apprenticeships are usually fixed between 1-4 years with entitlement to the apprentice rate of the National Minimum Wage along with statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental payment and sick pay.  Legal advice should be sought for contracts as these differ from the standard employment contracts.

Apprentices cannot be dismissed by reason of redundancy, unless there is a closure or the business undergoes a fundamental change.  The agreement can be terminated by mutual consent, though employers should take legal advice as the apprentice will have certain statutory employment rights.

In light of the higher government incentive payments for recruiting young apprentices ages 16-18, it could be fatal for employers to discriminate against older apprentice applicants unless they can show that the age limit is objectively justified.

Apprentices do not fall under the protection of the fixed term employees (prevention of less favourable treatment) regulations 2002 if they are engaged for a fixed term period but they do benefit from all rights that workers are entitled to under the Working Time Regulations 1998.

Apprentices under the age of 18 have additional rights in relation to young workers and from a health and safety perspective risks must be assessed taking into consideration inexperience and immaturity.

For advice on Apprentices and Employment Law please contact Parveen Bunglawala in our Warrington office on 01925 230000 or Parveen.Bunglawala@fdrlaw.co.uk

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