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Here's everything you need to know about apprenticeship wages if you're preparing to hire an apprentice for your company.

Depending on your circumstances, the cost of your apprenticeship training is covered entirely or partially by your apprenticeship levy contributions. You will, however, be responsible for paying your apprentices' salary as an employer.

2021 apprenticeship minimum wage

If an apprentice is under 19 or over 19 and in their first year of the apprenticeship, you must pay them at least the minimum apprenticeship wage rate of £4.30.

You must pay your apprentice at least the minimum salary for their age if they are over 19 and have finished the first year of their apprenticeship:

  • £6.65 for ages 19 to 20
  • £8.36 for the 21 and 22
  • £8.91 for those aged 23 and above

Many firms pay their apprentices more than the minimum wage because they recognise that it improves their employee's loyalty and overall quality of life.

Apprenticeship minimum wage 2022 increase

From April 2022, all minimum wage rates will increase to the following: 

  • Apprentice - £4.81
  • Under 18 - £4.81
  • 18 to 20 - £6.83
  • 21 to 22 - £9.18
  • Over 23 - £9.50 

How long do apprentices have to work for?

A minimum of 30 hours per week and a maximum of 40 hours per week is required of an apprentice. Apprentices may labour for a minimum of 16 hours per week in extraordinary circumstances, such as those with considerable caring duties; in this case, the apprenticeship will be prolonged.

Do apprentices need to pay tax?

Apprentices are subject to the same tax obligations as any other UK employee, i.e., tax is computed on their annual earnings. The Basic Rate of tax applies to apprentices who earn between £12,570 and £50,000 per year (20 percent ). Apprentices earning minimum wage will not be taxed because they will not meet this threshold.

Do apprentice have to pay National Insurance

Apprentices, like employees, are subject to ordinary National Insurance laws. National Insurance is calculated at 12% of an employee's weekly income between £184 and £967. Apprentices on minimum wage will fall below this threshold, and their wages will not be deducted for National Insurance contributions.

Employers with an apprentice under the age of 25 will not be required to pay the trainee's Class 1 National Insurance contributions. Employers can now hire young apprentices for less money.

Do apprentices get paid for off the job learning / training days?

All the time spent studying as part of the apprenticeship is paid for whether it’s at the workplace or college. The government’s conditions for apprenticeships states that apprentices must spend at least 20% of their working hours (i.e. what they are paid for) training.  

If you would like to read about Apprenticeship wages, please check out our downloadable Ebook Guide below.

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