Apprentice pay & allowances

Under the Vehicle Award, an apprentice’s rate of pay increases as they progress through their apprenticeship.

Their progress through the apprenticeship can be based on either:

  • the competencies they have completed
  • an agreed training plan
  • the length of time they have been an apprentice.

Junior apprentices in the repair, service & retail stream receive a percentage of the Level R6 rate in the Vehicle Award. Apprentices in the manufacturing stream receive a percentage of the Level V5 rate. There are different rates for adult apprentices and higher engineering apprentices. For more detail see Part 8 of the Award.

An apprentice’s rate of pay will depend on whether they started their apprenticeship before or after 1 January 2014. It will also depend on whether or not they have completed year 12.

You can use PayCheck Plus to calculate rates of pay for your apprentices.

There are different entitlements for adult apprentices.

Note: Apprentices cannot work under a system of payment by results.

Allowances for apprentices

Apprentices are entitled to the same allowances as your other employees. Apprentices must be paid the full amount of all allowances except the tool allowance - the tool allowance for apprentices is in clause 19.4 of the Vehicle Award.

For more information, see the Allowances section.

Training and textbooks

Apprentices may be required to attend training and assessments at a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), such as a TAFE, as a part of their apprenticeship. You must release your apprentice from work to attend training or assessments, without loss of continuity of employment. Time spent attending training or assessments will be considered time worked by an apprentice. They must be paid and accumulate their ordinary entitlements such as annual leave and personal leave.

You must reimburse any training fees that the apprentice has paid to the RTO. Apprentices also need to be reimbursed for the cost of any prescribed textbooks, excluding those available in your technical library.

These fees and costs need to be reimbursed:

  • within 6 months of starting the apprenticeship or a stage of the apprenticeship, or
  • within 3 months of commencing training with the RTO

whichever is later.

You don’t have to reimburse you apprentices in the following situations:

  • if they haven’t completed the course satisfactorily
  • for any part of their fees that are reimbursed by the Government
  • if you pay the fees or costs directly to the RTO within 6 months of the start of the apprenticeship or the relevant stage of the apprenticeship.

You can’t require any of your apprentices to work overtime or shiftwork if it prevents them from attending training, unless it’s an emergency.

Travel costs for block release training

Where your apprentice needs to attend block release training and this involves an overnight stay, you will need to pay any excess reasonable travel costs incurred. You won’t need to pay these costs if the apprentice could have attended an RTO that was closer to their usual place of work and you did not agree to the use of the more distant RTO. For more detail on block release training see clause 15.4 of the Vehicle Award.

Vehicle industry apprenticeships

Under the Vehicle Award, you can hire apprentices in a wide range of trades. A full list of the available apprenticeships is in clause 15.2 of the Vehicle Award. For more information about the various training schemes Contact the education or training authority in your state.

Best Practice Tip

Encourage your apprentice to keep a simple work diary to help them keep track of their shifts and pay. For each shift, your apprentice should record:

  • the day and date
  • starting and finishing times
  • any leave taken
  • meal breaks
  • the name of their supervisor.

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Page last updated: 03 Jan 2014