Are you paying apprentices the National Minimum Wage?


Content provided by HMRC.

As more employers look to take on apprentices and utilise the apprenticeship funds available, it is important to understand the rules around pay.

As an employer of apprentices, you have a legal responsibility to ensure you’re paying them at least the National Minimum Wage. Mistakes can be easy to make but there is help and advice available to get it right.

When paying your apprentices make sure you’re not making the following common minimum wage mistakes:

  • If an apprentice is aged 19 and over and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, they are entitled to the higher minimum wage rate for their age group
  • An apprentice can only be paid the apprentice rate of £4.30 once they have officially started their apprenticeship and not after it ends
  • All training time must be paid no matter whether this takes place at work, college or elsewhere - the training can even be outside normal working hours

Employers can get help and advice on paying the correct minimum wage by:

Sample wage calculations for employers

Worker A

Worker A is an apprentice, aged 18, and works 32 hours per week.

Six of these hours are spent training at college. All training time is classed as working time and must be paid. As this worker is under the age of 19, they are entitled to the apprentice rate of £4.30 per hour.

  • Wage calculation: £4.30 x 32 hours = £137.60 per week
  • Worker A is entitled to be paid at least £137.60 per week.

Worker B

Worker B is 21 and starts a two year apprenticeship with an employer working 32 hours per week.

This worker is entitled to the apprentice rate of £4.30 per hour for the first year and then the higher National Minimum Wage rate of £8.36 for the second year.

  • Wage calculation for year 1: £4.30 x 32 hours = £137.60 per week
  • Wage calculation for year 2: £8.36 x 32 hours = £267.52 per week

At the current rate, worker B is entitled to be paid at least £137.60 per week during their first year and £267.52 per week during their second year of the apprenticeship.

If you need assistance finding out which rate your workers should be paid, get in touch with Karen

contact karen