Wages, conditions and workplace requirements
The Department of Education and Training does not have any authority over wages and entitlements for apprentices and trainees. Wages, some entitlements and wage progression are managed by the Fair Work Ombudsman who can be contacted on 13 13 94.
Employers are responsible for ensuring apprentices and trainees are paid correctly in accordance with the relevant award and the most up-to-date changes. Employers should take into account any award clauses relating to competency-based training and conditions of progressions.
Before calling the Fair Work Ombudsman
- Apprentices and trainees can use the online pay calculator to determine wages, allowances and penalty rates, and therefore may not need to call Fair Work.
- Apprentices, trainees and employers can complete the before you call checklist provided by the Fair Work Ombudsman, to ensure they get the best advice the first time they call.
Paying apprentices and trainees for time spent training
Apprentices and trainees must be released from work and without loss of pay to attend their off-the-job training with the training organisation (this may not apply to school-based apprentices and trainees - the employer should contact the Fair Work Ombudsman to discuss the relevant industrial relations provisions applicable). The ATIS-036 Paying apprentices and trainees for time spent undertaking supervised training and assessment information sheet confirms this and other details.
Conditions of employment
- Workers compensation - Apprentices and trainees are entitled to workers' compensation in the same way as other employees. Phone WorkCover Queensland on 1300 362 128.
- Superannuation - Apprentices and trainees are typically entitled to super contributions from their employer, just like other employees. The employer should provide the apprentice or trainee with appropriate superannuation paperwork commencement. Visit the Australian Taxation Office website for further information.
- Tool entitlement - For some apprenticeships, the employer must provide tools or pay a tool entitlement to the apprentice. Phone the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94.
- Employee rights - Apprentices and trainees are considered employees and may receive the same entitlements as other employees. The ATIS-003 Apprentice and trainee rights and responsibilities information sheet provides further information regarding your rights.
- Industrial action - Both the Queensland Industrial Relations Act 1999 and Commonwealth Fair Work Act 2009 treat apprentices and trainees as employees. Therefore apprentices and trainees are free to choose whether or not to become a member of a union and are also free to choose whether or not to participate in lawful industrial action.
Safety in the workplace
Every person associated with a workplace has an obligation to ensure their own, and others’ workplace health and safety, regardless of their role(s).
Employers have an obligation to ensure the workplace health and safety of all their employees, including apprentices and trainees, by providing workplace inductions, personal protective equipment and controlling risks of injury and disease to their employees. Employees (including apprentices and trainees) have a responsibility to comply with all instructions given by their employer and not wilfully, or recklessly place anyone in the workplace at risk or misuse/interfere with anything provided for workplace health and safety.
Visit the Workplace Health and Safety website or contact 1300 362 128 to discuss workplace health and safety. This also includes the Electrical Safety Office for employers in the electrical industry.
Supervision in the workplace
Apprentices and trainees must be supervised in the workplace by an appropriately qualified person. This person is required to be permanently engaged in the same workplace as the apprentice or trainee during the same working hours. The definition of a qualified person can be found on ATIS-039 Adequate training arrangements in the workplace information sheet.
Strict supervision requirements are placed on employers of electrical apprentices and trainees. The Electrical Safety Office can provide further information – contact 1300 362 128.
Apprentices and trainees who feel they are not being properly supervised should contact Apprenticeships Info on 1800 210 210.