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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
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Entitlement to national minimum wage: apprentices - changes in apprenticeship contracts

Relevant legislation

The legislation that applies to this page is as follows:

For pay reference periods commencing

* on or after 6 April 2015; National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015, regulation 5
* before 6 April 2015; National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999, regulation 13

General

For national minimum wage purposes contracts of apprenticeship are treated separately from any other contract (including other contracts of apprenticeship) the worker may have previously had with the same or another employer.

For example

  • Worker H, aged 20, starts employment as a nursery assistant in England and qualifies to be paid the minimum wage. After three months in the employment, the worker starts an Advanced Apprenticeship arranged by the employer and a local training provider. The Advanced Apprenticeship is through a Government arrangement so the worker can be treated as employed under a contract of apprenticeship (NMWM05230). Even though the worker previously worked for the employer under a contract of employment, the contract of apprenticeship is treated separately. As the worker is aged over 19 (NMWM05270) they are entitled to be paid the national minimum wage apprentice rate for 12 months from the start of their apprenticeship and will then be entitled to the main rate.
  • Worker J, aged 20, starts an apprenticeship with an employer. The worker is entitled to be paid the national minimum wage rate for apprentices for the first 12 months of his apprenticeship. (NMWM05270). However, after four months, the worker leaves the employment and immediately starts a new apprenticeship with a different employer. This second contract of apprenticeship is treated separately therefore the worker cannot include the first period of apprenticeship of four months towards the second contract. This means he is entitled to be paid the national minimum wage rate for apprentices for another 12 months from the start of this second apprenticeship.
  • Worker K, aged 23, successfully completes an Advanced Apprenticeship with an employer. Some months after completion the worker commences a Higher Apprenticeship in England. This second contract of apprenticeship is treated separately from the initial contract of apprenticeship (regardless of whether or not there is a break between the two contracts). Therefore the worker becomes entitled to be paid the national minimum wage rate for apprentices for another 12 months from the start of this second apprenticeship (NMWM05270) (although the employer is likely to have chosen to pay them more than this). In these circumstances it is appropriate for a NMW Officer to test that the later contract is genuinely a separate contract of apprenticeship and not simply a label used in an attempt to avoid paying the correct national minimum wage rate to workers.

When a company or business is taken over by another company or business and continuity of employment is preserved under statute then any contract of apprenticeship continues under the new employer.

For example

  • Worker L, aged 21, starts an apprenticeship. Six months later her company is taken over by a rival firm and her continuity of employment is protected under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006. For national minimum wage purposes, Worker L is treated as having one apprenticeship contract which continues unbroken when the business changes hands.