Apprenticeships have seen an upsurge in popularity over the past few years, with more and more students wanting to add some work experience to their repertoire.
A student CV is always boosted by having some work experience on it, but is it worth doing if you're not getting paid much?
Not every apprenticeship is a success of course, but nearly all of them are paid and earning money is very important, especially if you're looking at how to save money as a student.
What is an apprenticeship wage?
All apprentices are entitled to fair pay, under the current apprenticeship wage laws. Though it may seem like you are doing relatively junior work and somewhat menial tasks, all apprentices should be paid for the work they do.
There is an apprenticeship minimum wage, which dictates how much an apprentice should be earning, as a minimum. There are different levels of pay for students, depending on the age bracket that you fall into.
These are the brackets and pay for the national apprenticeship wage:
|Apprentice Age Range||Apprentice Pay Rate|
|Apprentice (all ages)||£4.30 per-hour|
|Under the Age of 18||£4.62 per-hour|
|Ages 18-20||£6.56 per-hour|
|Ages 21+||£8.36 per-hour|
|Ages 25+||£8.91 per-hour|
* All wages correct at the time of publishing.
As you can see from the table above, the apprenticeship wage in the UK does exist and it is enforced by law. The figures have increased since 2018 as well.
The national minimum wage can sometimes increase for certain students, depending on the company you are working for, as many employers do often pay more at the employer’s discretion.
What is the minimum amount of money to be paid for an apprenticeship?
The table above shows you how much money an apprentice must be paid for their work, depending on their age, but the minimum amount of money an apprentice must be paid by an employer is £3.90.
Is the apprenticeship wage the same as the minimum wage?
No, the wages are totally different. The apprenticeship national minimum wage is different from the minimum wage for regular employment. A minimum wage apprenticeship has to be paid a minimum of £3.90, whereas the minimum wage will depend on the age of the person.
How often does the apprenticeship wage rise?
Luckily, the apprenticeship wage rises fairly regularly.
The wage has increased twice in the past year and may yet rise higher. Philip Hammond was the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and upon recommendations from the Low Pay Commission, decided to increase the wage.
The £3.90 minimum wage for apprenticeship are currently paid is a much larger slice of the pie than others on other minimum wage frameworks. This is true of all apprenticeships, not just a government apprenticeship wage.
Does the type of apprenticeship change how much I am paid?
No, since there are lots of different types of apprenticeships, unless the employer has special dispensation to remunerate employees differently.
The average apprenticeship wage shouldn’t change depending on the apprenticeship that you're studying, whether you're doing a PJEA apprenticeship or a government-backed apprenticeship, the wage doesn’t change.
How long can you be paid apprenticeship wage?
The minimum apprenticeship wage is paid for as long as you have an apprenticeship, it is the same apprenticeship wage for 24 year old, apprenticeship wage over 25, apprenticeship wage for 22 year old or the apprenticeship wage over 21, you are paid as long as you are employed.
Do apprentices pay tax and NI?
Tax is a tough thing to wrap your head around, even at the best of times, no matter if you have a career as an accountant or you're just a student, no one enjoys it.
That being said, taxation as an apprentice is fairly straightforward.
Apprentices do have to pay tax on anything they earn. It’s a very common misconception among people that just because it is not gainful employment, that you do not pay tax, but alas, you do.
As an employee, you are expected to pay income tax and you will also need to make National Insurance Contributions (NIC) too.
You will be taxed on a Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) system. You won’t need to worry yourself with anything like a Self Assessment tax return, since you aren't self-employed and your pay is deducted “at source” (basically, before you even get paid).
We should just clarify here, if you earn less than £11,500, you will not be taxed at all, that would be a tad unfair. However, if you earn more than £157 per-week, you will be required to pay NIC. What is useful, is that if you earn between £113 and £157-a-week, your contributions will be treated as “paid”, this is so your National insurance record is properly protected.
You are still an employee, so your NIC will be Class 1. This means your pay packet is charged at 12% if you're earning between £157 and £866-a-week. If you earn over that it will be an extra 2%.
If you’ve paid too much tax, you will be entitled to a tax rebate (the two sweetest words in the English language), just call HMRC and they will assist you.