Apprentice holding a calculator

If you’re ready to bring an apprentice on board your business, here is what you need to know about apprenticeship wages. 

The cost of the apprenticeship training is funded by your apprenticeship levy contributions or fully-funded by the government depending on your circumstances. However, as an employer you will still be responsible for paying wages to your apprentices.  

Need help with apprenticeship funding for your business?

Apprenticeship minimum wage 

As an employer you must pay apprentices at least the minimum apprenticeship wage rate of £4.30 if they are under 19 OR over 19 and in their first year of the apprenticeship.  

If your apprentice is over 19 and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, you must pay them at least minimum wage for their age: 

19 to 20 - £6.65 

21 to 22 - £9.18 

23 and over - £8.91 

Many employers choose to pay their apprentices more than minimum wage as they recognise it helps to improve loyalty to their employer as well as their overall quality of life.  

Apprenticeship minimum wage 2022 increase 

From April 2022, all minimum wage rates will increase to the following: 

Apprentice - £4.81 

Under 18 - £4.81 

18 to 20 - £6.83 

21 to 22 - £9.18 

Over 23 - £9.50 

How many hours can an apprentice work? 

An apprentice must work a minimum of 30 hours per week and a maximum of 40 hours per week. In special circumstances, such as for those with significant caring responsibilities, apprentices may work for a minimum of 16 hours a week – in this instance, the duration of the apprenticeship would be extended. 

Apprenticeship employment benefits 

Alongside their regular wages, apprentices are entitled to the same benefits your other employees receive in their employment contracts such as: 

Sick days 

Holiday days 

Access to benefits schemes 

Any coaching or mentoring support 

Do apprentices pay tax? 

Apprentices are subject to the same tax requirements as any other UK employee – i.e. tax is calculated based on their annual income.  

If an apprentice earns between £12,570 and £50,000 a year, they will be subject to the Basic Rate tax (20%). Apprentices on minimum wage will not meet this threshold and therefore will not be taxed.  

Do apprentices pay National Insurance? 

Similarly to income tax, apprentices are subject to standard National Insurance rules. National Insurance is charged at 12 per cent of an employee’s wages between £184 and £967 per week. Apprentices on minimum wage will fall below this threshold and not have National Insurance contributions deducted from their wages. 

However, employers with an apprentice under 25 will not have to pay their Class 1 National Insurance contributions for that apprentice. This makes it cheaper for employers to take on young apprentices.  

Do apprentices pay into pensions? 

Apprentices should be auto-enrolled onto your workplace pension scheme as long as they are aged 22+ or earn over £10,000 in annual income. 

Apprentices younger than 22 may enrol onto your pension scheme if they earn more than £6,240 in annual wages.  

Apprentices who earn less than £6,240 a year can still pay into a pension, however as an employer you won’t need to pay into it as well.  

Do apprentices get paid for college days? 

All time spent studying as part of the apprenticeship is paid for whether it’s at the workplace or college. The government’s conditions for apprenticeships states that apprentices must spend at least 20% of their working hours (i.e. what they are paid for) training.  

Can you get support to pay apprenticeship wages? 

Your business may be eligible for a grant to support the costs of an apprenticeship including equipment, travel, and wages.  

Apprenticeship grants are available via government incentives, local authorities or industry associations.  

Apprenticeships are one of the best ways to bring in new talent and upskill existing staff but we know it can be a confusing process. That’s why our experienced team will take the hassle out of the process and guide you through the process from start to finish.   

Find out more about how we can help with your apprenticeship funding or call our team of friendly experts on 03333 222 666.  

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