Your Rights At Work


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.

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 receiving the right training? Speak to your learning provider in the first instance, then your GMB rep.

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 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


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.

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

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

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.

Join us and become a GMB
member today.