Know your apprenticeship rights before you hire

Apprenticeships in the UK are becoming a popular alternative to university as young people and employers both recognise the benefits of the scheme. However there is still some confusion surrounding apprenticeship rights with different arrangements. Employers need to be clear on this to avoid expensive mistakes.

In a recent blog post, for cipd.co.uk, Helen Darnton, an associate at law firm Clarion, highlights a few key areas to be aware of. We have summarised these below:

1.       Contracts. Two types exist: agreements and contracts.

Apprenticeship contracts have been around a while and are governed by case law. If the main aim of the apprenticeship is for the employer to train a person, an automatic contract exists, although this doesn’t necessarily have to be in writing.

Apprenticeship agreement requirements were established in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009. An apprenticeship agreement can’t happen unless it meets certain requirements; it should be in writing and have a framework in place.

2. Rights.

Apprenticeship agreements – apprentices are seen as employees and normal unfair dismissal rules apply.

Apprenticeship contracts – As above with additional rights. Apprentices can only be dismissed for misconduct if they breach the contract so extremely it renders them unteachable.

3. Misconduct

Level of misconduct must be higher than a normal employee for dismissal to be fair. A one-off offence usually doesn’t count. Apprentices can’t be let go because of redundancy unless the business closes.

4. Compensation

An apprentice is likely to receive more compensation then dismissed employees if dismissals are seen to be unfair.