The Government’s 2016 Apprenticeship Pay Survey suggested one in five apprentices were paid less than their legal minimum entitlement, rising to one in two in sectors like hairdressing. The survey depended on self-reporting so there is room for error or but this would have to be on an industrial scale to explain all of this reported underpayment.
To better understand this reported non-compliance with minimum wage rules, Learning and Work Institute surveyed 2,000 employers and undertook focus groups with apprentices, organised by the National Society of Apprentices.
The findings show a substantial minority of employers are unsure of the rules.
One in five employers (22%) had not heard of the Minimum Wage for apprentices; 54% did not know an apprenticeship required off-the-job training, and 41% did not know minimum pay for apprentices aged over 19 increases in the second year of their apprenticeship. Perhaps more pressingly, more than one in five current and recent employers of apprentices were unaware of each of these rules.