There are many rules surrounding apprenticeships therefore things can easily be overlooked. Look out for CE Back Office’s top 5 mistakes to avoid when looking to take on an Apprentice…

  • Incorrect NI Letter Code

Apprentices under the age of 25 that are following an approved apprenticeship framework must be put on NI letter H. This is important as it reduces the NI contributions made by the employer. Please note apprentices above the age of 25 should be put on the relevant NI letter code for their age/circumstances.

  • Failing to Meet Minimum Wage Payments

Apprentices have their own minimum wage rates. Currently the rate is £3.70 (18/19 tax year) and this will be increasing to £3.90 in April 2019. Please note these rates apply to apprentices under 19 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. Therefore, an apprentice who is over 19 and has completed one year of their apprenticeship must then be paid the minimum wage for their age. Please see minimum wage rates below;

18/19 Tax Year 19/20 Tax Year
National living wage £7.83 per hour £8.21 per hour
16-17 year old’s £4.20 per hour £4.35 per hour
18-20 year old’s £5.90 per hour £6.15 per hour
21-24 year old’s 7.38 per hour £7.70 per hour


  • Not Paying for Training Time

It can be misunderstood by employers that training time for apprentices must be paid for. Whether an apprentice is training on the job, at a college or at a training organisation it must be paid. Employers must make sure they adhere to these rules as failing to do so will take the apprentice below minimum wage and can cause implications and fines.

  • Over Recruiting

It isn’t commonly known that the Apprenticeship Levy can be used to up-skill existing staff and therefore employers can utilise this to fill skill gaps within their workforce. Therefore, employers can save money on recruiting highly skilled employees by using an apprenticeship scheme to train current staff in areas that would be relevant to their job role, that could help with their personal growth and the growth of the business. Please also note, employees that are qualified to degree level can still do an apprenticeship as long as it is in an area different to their existing degree.

  • Knowing the Rights of an Apprentice

Apprenticeships are contractually entitled to the same rights as any other employees. Meaning they are entitled to a minimum of 28 days annual leave (including bank holidays), please note if an employer offers more, they should receive the increased entitlement. Apprentices also have the same rights to statutory payments and any other support or benefits provided by the employer. It is important as an employer to have a signed contract or an apprenticeship agreement between yourself and the apprentice to ensure that both parties agree on what is to be expected.

Want to ensure you are 100% compliant? Book onto our ‘Apprentices: A Guide for Employers’ seminar by clicking here.
Start a Conversation