5 Legal essentials you need to know when thinking of employing an Apprentice.
1. Get the type of apprenticeship right
Businesses can employ apprentices under a traditional contract of apprenticeship or under a modern apprenticeship agreement. Make sure that you take the modern apprenticeship route. It can be very difficult to bring a traditional apprenticeship to an end, and enhanced compensation may be payable.
2. Make sure your contract qualifies
To qualify as a modern apprenticeship, your apprenticeship contract must be in a prescribed form. For instance, it must be in writing, and contain the basic statutory terms of employment and a statement of the skill, trade or occupation the apprentice is training for. It must also state that it is governed by the law of England and Wales, and that it is entered into in connection with a qualifying apprenticeship framework.
3. Make sure your contract protects you
In addition to the usual protections a well drafted employment contract provides, we recommend that your contract deals with the end of the apprenticeship, college work (training costs, time off, equipment etc.) poor performance, and that it contains all the prescribed terms.
4. Avoid age discrimination
As apprentices will tend to be younger than the other workers, make sure that their employment terms are consistent with other employees, unless any differences can be legally ‘objectively justified’. And although the government can award funding according to age, it is also risky to put an upper age limit on schemes for this reason.
5. Be aware of young workers’ rights
More stringent daily and weekly working time limits apply to apprentices under the age of 18 (they may not work more than 8 hours in any one day and 40 hours in any one week, Monday to Sunday). Special health and safety rules also apply to under 18s. Employers offering work to a young person must assess the risks to them before they start the employment or placement, taking into account their inexperience, lack of awareness of risks and immaturity.