Promotional material centred on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) has recently been published on Gov.uk aimed at employers with apprentices to heighten awareness that apprentices should be paid the correct rate of NMW.

The published materials include three suggested social media posts plus a blog and some examples of wage calculations that employers can adapt and personalise for their own use. A zip file of images that employers can download and use on social media is also available.

Approved apprenticeships

An approved apprenticeship applies to apprentices engaged under a contract of apprenticeship or a recognised apprenticeship scheme. Training must last at least 12 months and take up at least 20% of their normal working hours. The apprentice must be employed in a real job which will provide him the knowledge and skills to pass their assessment.

Paying the correct rate

Apprentices are entitled to be paid the NMW rate of £4.30 per hour once they officially start their apprenticeship.
Apprentices are entitled to a higher rate of NMW or National Living Wage (NLW) once they reach the age of 19 and over, providing, they have completed the first year of their apprenticeship.

The rates for apprentices with effect from 1 April 2021 are as follows:

Aged 23
and over
Aged 21 – 22Aged 20Aged 19Aged 18Under 18
Hourly rate 1 st year of apprenticeship£4.30£4.30£4.30£4.30£4.30£4.30
Hourly rate after completing first year of apprenticeship£8.91£8.36£6.56£6.56£4.30£4.30
Before/after apprenticeship starts/ends£8.91£8.36£6.56£6.56£6.56£4.62

It is illegal for an employer to pay less than the above NMW or NLW (aged 23 or over, see above).
Time spent training is counted as working time and therefore apprentices should be paid at least the NMW for this time. It is irrelevant if the training takes place at work, college, online or elsewhere or is outside normal working hours.

Where the apprentice is required by their apprenticeship to also study for an English or maths qualification, they are entitled to be paid study time during their normal working hours. If an apprentice is placed on furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), they must be paid the correct NMW/NLW rate as set out above for any hours they work or undertake any training.

Further information

Social media posts and images for NMW and apprentices can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-minimum-wage-for-apprentices-communication-resources?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_source=e303dc08-e754-47ee-848e-ca49990b8da0&utm_content=immediately
Employing an apprentice:
www.gov.uk/employing-an-apprentice/payandconditions-for-apprentices
To find suitable training for an apprentice go to:
www.findapprenticeshiptraining.apprenticeships.education.gov.uk

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