How many days holiday is an apprentice entitled to?

14 January 2020

An employer talking their apprentice through terms of their annual leave.

Apprenticeships can offer a huge number of benefits for both workers and employers. The apprentice is able to train for valuable qualifications, while learning on the job and starting to earn a living. They offer practical, real world experience, alongside the chance to learn essential skills and qualifications.

For the employer, apprenticeships offer a unique opportunity to ‘grow your own’ talent in-house. This means that the organisation can mould the apprentice into their dream employee, which could form a part of a talent pipeline for the future – to help businesses avoid the dreaded ‘skills gap’. Businesses can also benefit from the enthusiasm, new ideas and potentially undiscovered talent of an eager apprentice.

But for apprenticeships to work well for both parties, it’s important for everyone to fully understand their rights and responsibilities. For apprentices, one of the most crucial things to check is the right to a holiday allowance. This should be part of the basic benefits offered to all workers, which means apprentices too.

Your rights to holidays as an apprentice

All apprentices working in the UK are entitled to at least 20 days of holiday a year. This includes bank holidays. It’s important to remember that apprentices aren’t on ‘work experience’ – they should be treated the same as other employees when it comes to rights, responsibilities and privileges.

The minimum wage for apprentices isn’t as high as for standard full-time workers, which is why benefits such as paid holiday really matter. Holidays and other perks, along with the chance to learn on the job and train for qualifications, can make apprenticeships more attractive – which means more people want to complete them.

To make the situation clear and simple for everyone, employers should outline the terms of the apprenticeship in a training agreement or contract. This will set out entitlement to benefits like holidays, along with any procedures for requesting holidays through a line manager.

On top of holidays, apprentices tend to work a shorter week than other employees. For example, the working week for many apprentices is 30 hours, rather than the usually 37 or 38 that a full-time worker would do.

This is because it’s a requirement of apprenticeships to build in time for study and training. With some time left over in the working week, an apprentice can work towards those vital qualifications and skills that will further their development and future career prospects. This training will also make them a real asset to the business in the future, if they decide to stay on.

Is an apprentice entitled to holiday pay?

As discussed, apprentices are just like other employees when it comes to workplace rights and responsibilities – except that they work a slightly shorter week and are studying or training at the same time. This means that they are entitled to holiday pay just like other employees, usually at the same rate as their normal pay.

This means that an apprentice should get a minimum of 20 days paid holiday a year, although some employers may wish to offer a larger holiday entitlement. They may increase the basic holiday entitlement to offer their workforce a better work/life balance, or even be more flexible when it comes to allowing additional time for training, study or personal development. The upper limit of holiday allowance may also be affected by the type of scheme – for example, a mortgage advisor apprenticeship or a paraplanner apprenticeship.

It’s very important that apprentices understand their rights before starting on a programme, and that employers do all they can to uphold their own responsibilities. Holidays offer a crucial time to rest and balance life with work, and hard-working apprentices need this just as much as other members of the team.

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