April 2017 sees the introduction of a new law to avoid the exploitation of Apprentices.
It is now an offence for an employer to describe a position as an Apprenticeship, by offering training or courses, when it is not actually a Statutory Apprenticeship.
It must also be noted that all Apprentices are to receive at least the minimum wage, which is currently £3.50 per hour.
25,000 awarded for the early termination of an apprenticeship contract
An employment tribunal has awarded a roof tiler £25,000 over a breach of his contract of apprenticeship.
There is a significant difference between an Apprenticeship Contract and an Apprenticeship Agreement which is what employer, Marley Eternit found to their detriment in October 2014 when they dismissed their apprentice, Mr Kinnear.
The Apprentice Contract entitled Mr Kinnear to be trained by the company and employed by them until the apprenticeship finished. In this case that would be until November 2018.
In June 2016 Mr Kinnear was advised that there had been a downturn in business and that his employment was being terminated on the basis of redundancy. His appeal against dismissal was rejected.
Mr Kinnear brought a claim for breach of contract in an employment tribunal which was uncontested. In upholding Mr Kinnear’s claim, the tribunal noted that he had 122 weeks left to run on his apprenticeship. It assessed that he would have been paid £24,217 for the remainder of his term.
The tribunal also acknowledged that the lack of a roofing qualification might disadvantage him in the labour market for a number of years to come and awarded him £25,000, the maximum an employment tribunal can award for breach of contract.
To safeguard against such issues it is important that you enter into an Apprenticeship Agreement which can enable termination of the agreement rather than a contract which cannot.