Paying an Apprentice

Employing an apprentice is very similar to employing any member of staff; however the national minimum wage is applied differently to apprentices.

The national minimum wage (NMW) is £3.50 as of April 2017 for apprentices under 19 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. This applies to a learner’s first apprenticeship and any subsequent apprenticeships, e.g. if a learner completes a L2 apprenticeship and is aged 19 or over upon finishing, they will be on the NMW for 18-20 year olds (which is £5.60). If this learner then proceeds to undertake an L3 apprenticeship, they are only entitled to a minimum of £3.50 again (for their first year).

Once the learner has completed their first year AND is aged 19 or over, they are entitled to the NMW for their age bracket (18-20 = £5.60, 21+ = £7.05).

If the learner’s employment starts prior to the apprenticeship training (confirmed by the completion of the sign-up paperwork showing the apprenticeship start date), then they are entitled to the NMW for their age bracket. Only once their apprenticeship training begins can they be paid the NMW for apprentices (£3.50 per hour). If a learner starts employment on 1st of a month, but their apprenticeship does not begin until 20th, from 1st – 20th they are entitled to the NMW for their age bracket.

The apprentice must be paid for, normal working hours (minimum 30 hours per week), training that’s part of the apprenticeship (usually one day per week) and at least 20 days paid holiday per year plus bank holidays.

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the apprentice is paid in line with the national minimum wage for the duration of the apprenticeship. The current requirements can be found on the Gov website.