GMB Apprentice Network


Welcome to
GMB Apprentice Network

Whether you're starting out at work or undertaking a new development opportunity, apprentices have a unique experience at work. As your Union, we're here to support you and make sure your apprenticeship placement runs smoothly.

Please take the short survey below to tell us about your experience as an apprentice ↓

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My Pay


Apprentices are entitled to a minimum wage, but how much depends on how old you are and how long you have been doing your apprenticeship.

Apprentices can only be paid the apprentice rate if they’re either:

  • aged under 19
  • aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

These rates are for the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage. The rates change every April.

Current Rate         

25 and over   

21 to 24       

18 to 20         Under 18        Apprentice     
From April 2020 £8.72 £8.20 £6.45 £4.55 £4.15

You can check your pay using the apprentice pay calculator on the Apprenticeship Essentials app.

What if I'm sick? If you are off for 4 or more days in a row, you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. This is only about £95 a week (check current rates). Your employer may have their own policy which pays more than this, which HR will be able to provide.


My Study Time


As an apprentice, you are entitled to 20% off-the-job training relating to the subject you are studying. This could be at college, or at your normal place of work, but must not be delivered as part of your normal duties. If you have to undertake functional skills too (English & Maths), you should be given additional time to complete your learning.


  • The teaching of theory (lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning, manufacturer training)
  • Practical training (shadowing, mentoring, industry visits)
  • Learning support and time spent writing assessments/assignments

What if I am not recieving the right training? Speak to your learning provider in the first instance, then your GMB rep.


My Working Hours


As an employee, you will have a minimum entitlement to:

  • 28 holiday days a year (this may include bank holidays). This is for a full time apprentice, if you are part time or work irregular hours visit https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-holiday-entitlement to check your leave entitlement
  • A 20 minute break for every 6 hours worked, or 30 minutes every 4.5 hours if you are under 18. Your employer does not have to pay you for this
  • An 11 hour break between shifts (e.g. If you finish at 8pm, you cannot be asked to work before 7am the next day)
  • At least 24 hours off once a week, or 48 hours off once a fortnight
  • No more than 48 hours a week work


Further Information on Annual Leave


My Contract


Like any other employee, you are entitled to a contract or apprentice agreement, in some cases both. Your contact should include your job title and description, employers name, working hours, holiday entitlement and how much and how often you get paid.

If you do not have a contract, you should request one from your HR department and if you have any trouble getting a copy you should speak to your union rep who will be able to help.


My Health & Safety


All employers have a legal responsibility to….

  1. Maintain health and safety and keep employees safe from harm
  2. Provide Personal Protective Equipment (clothing, garments or equipment that protects you from injury or infection)
  3. Ensure your workplace and the machinery in it are safe

You can refuse to undertake a job if you think it puts you in danger or goes against your employer’s health and safety policy.

Find Out More

My Treatment at Work


Your employer has a responsibility to prevent bullying and harassment in the workplace. If you ever feel a victim of these, talk to your union for advice as soon as possible. This is especially important if you feel you are being victimised because of your characteristics (your gender, sexual orientation, faith or belief, disability, race or age) as there are laws in place to protect you from this.

If you feel you are treating unfairly at work, you should speak to your manager and/or your trade union rep.

More about Discrimination at Work


My Right to Get Support at Work


Joining a trade union is the only way of ensuring that you have independent support during your employment. GMB Union will be there when you need it most.

You have a right to be accompanied by your trade union rep at formal disciplinary meetings, and your union rep will help you prepare for any meetings relating to your employment you are concerned about. 

Where we have lots of GMB members in one workplace and have an agreement with your employer, your union will also be able to help negotiate pay rises and improvements to your terms and conditions. Your union will ensure your workplace is fair.

You have a right to be a member of a trade union. If you are are having any problems with your apprenticeship, get in touch with us below for support. 

I am a GMB member

I am not yet a GMB member

Latest News

Advice for Apprentices during the Covid-19 outbreak


This page is designed to help you understand the government’s advice on apprenticeships during the coronavirus pandemic. If you need advice about Coronavirus in general, GMB has a regularly updated Coronavirus Hub.

Enter the Coronavirus Hub

Page last updated 01.04.2020 


My Job 


If your employer can keep you employed they should, but they should avoid you coming into work where possible. Like any other employee, the government gives the same advice to employers to try and retain apprentices. You may be asked to work from home, or your employer may choose to ‘furlough’ your role, which means your employer will send you home with pay but you will not be expected to work. You must have been employed in your role on 28 February 2020 to qualify. During ‘furlough’ the government will pay 80% of your wages, your employer can top up the rest but they do not have to by law. GMB will be campaigning for employers to pay the other 20% so that no one loses out. 

If you are a key worker or your employer has not said you can work from home, you may be asked to continue to work, in which case your employer should be taking steps to ensure you are safe from the risk of contracting the virus. You can visit GMB’s Coronavirus Hub for more advice. If you been asked to continue working and do not feel safe, make sure you tell us about it so we can take action, simply click the buttons below to share your story. 

I am a key worker

I am not a key worker

If your employer cannot keep you on and makes you redundant, you will be able to apply for Universal Credit. Your learning provider may be able to help find alternative employment for you to continue your apprenticeship, or if you are close to finishing, they should make alternative arrangements for you to complete your assessment. If you are at risk of losing your job, speak to your GMB Region or use the contact us box above to get in touch (please include your membership number if known). 


My Pay 


If you are furloughed and not training you will be paid a minimum of 80% of your wages, whether or not you are on the apprentice national minimum wage (£3.90 an hour for those aged under 19 or in their first year of apprenticeship, full national minimum wage applies to all other apprentices). This may bring your salary below minimum wage rates. GMB is fighting for all workers to receive 100% of their wages whilst furloughed. If you are not being fully paid, speak to your GMB Region or use the contact us box above to get in touch (please include your membership number if known). 

If you are furloughed and still training you will be paid a minimum of 80% of your wages, but this must not fall below national minimum wage rates. That means if you are on the apprentice minimum wage of £3.90 an hour, which is only for those aged 19 and under or in their first year, you should still be paid that rate. If you are over 19 and not in the first year of your apprenticeship, you are entitled to full national minimum wage. GMB is fighting for all workers to receive 100% of their wages whilst furloughed. If you do not believe you are being paid properly, speak to your GMB Region or use the contact us box above to get in touch (please include your membership number if known). 


My Learning 


The Government is implementing new measures, for the duration of the pandemic, to make it easier for you to continue your apprenticeship, complete assessments and take breaks in learning where needed. 

During the coronavirus outbreak, the Government is; 

  • Encouraging training providers to deliver your training remotely and via e-learning  

  • Allowing different types of assessments, including remote assessments where possible 

  • Letting end-point assessments be rescheduled  

  • Permitting breaks in learning (where the interruption to learning due to COVID-19 is greater than four weeks) 

  • Helping employers continue to fund their apprenticeship programmes  

  • Trying to help find you alternative employment within 12 weeks if you become redundant 

If you have any issues with training you should speak to your learning provider. 


Further Advice 


The guidance and measures start immediately and apply until further notice. 

You can reach the governments apprentice service helpline at 08000 150 600 or by emailinghelpdesk@manage-apprenticeships.service.gov.uk 

The apprentice service helpline can help answer other queries but will not be able to deal with individual issues.  

If you are a GMB member and concerned about your apprenticeship, speak to your workplace rep in the first instance or contact your Regional Office or by using the box above (please include your membership number). If you are unable to contact your Region, GMB has a backup phone line with Unionline – our legal firm – call the Coronavirus advice line on 0114 2962072 (please only do this if really needed as it is likely the phone line will be quite busy). 

Not a member yet? Join GMB Union 



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