Do I have all the usual employee rights as an apprentice?

Do I have all the usual employee rights as an apprentice?

Apprentices have the same rights and entitlements as any other employee including:

  • The right to annual leave, sick leave and public holidays
  • The right to a safe working environment
  • The right to receive superannuation contributions
  • The right to join a union or take industrial action.

All apprentices must also receive wages and conditions either under an appropriate award, enterprise agreement, or according to the National Employment Standards.

Apprentices also have additional entitlements and rights including:

  • The right to have the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge of their trade
  • The right to have access to structured on and off the job training
  • The right to paid time off work to attend training when necessary
  • The right to receive wage increases on the basis of either apprentice year level or skill, depending on which award applies.

These rights do not apply to trainees.

The only entitlement not granted to apprentices is redundancy pay in the case of a legal redundancy. Further, an apprentice cannot claim unfair dismissed if dismissed at the conclusion of apprenticeship.

Pay rights

For non-school based apprentices the time spent at trade school is paid time and is included in ordinary hours of work. Apprentices should be paid for all work hours and trade school hours and have the right to have that pay increase periodically with experience.

Pay rights for school-based apprentices

School based apprentices have different rights and entitlements to other apprentices. School-based apprentices should be paid in full for the hours worked for the employer. School-based apprentices are not paid for the actual hours they spend in training. Instead they should be paid for the hours worked for the employer and should receive an additional payment equivalent to 25% of worked hours to cover training. For example, if an apprentice works 10 hours for their employer, they should be paid 10 hours for work and 2.5 hours for training, regardless of the amount of time actually spent in training.

This reduced rate of payment only applies to full time students. School-based apprentices should still be paid at the full-time apprentice hourly rate yet that can be averaged over a semester or a year.

The important thing to remember is that apprentices should not only receive training and be paid for it, but have the exact same rights in the workplace as any other employee.

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