Apprentice entitlements

An apprentice is an employee who learns their trade or profession while working for an employer under a training contract.


As an apprentice, many of your entitlements will be the same as other employees. These are your minimum entitlements under the National Employment Standards and include annual leave, sick leave, public holidays and breaks.

Awards and registered agreements can have specific entitlements or rules that apply to apprentices. There may be other entitlements in awards and registered agreements that apprentices don't get.

Use our Find my award tool to check which award you’re covered by. You can find enterprise agreements and other registered agreements at Fair Work Commission website – Find an agreement.

Best practice tip

You should also check your training contract for other entitlements.

Guide to starting an apprenticeship

For detailed information about your rights and responsibilities as an apprentice and a checklist to get you started, download our Guide to starting an apprenticeship Guide to starting an apprenticeship.

Payment for time spent at training

Off-the-job training is time spent in structured training delivered by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). It's often delivered at a site away from the workplace and referred to as trade school. It doesn't include:

  • normal work duties or
  • supervised practice on the job.


The time you spend at trade school is paid time and is included in your ordinary hours of work (for example, 38 hours). You need to agree with your employer about how often you will go to trade school (for example, 1 day per week or week blocks of training). This is usually set out in your training plan.

If you don't go to trade school when you're supposed to, you don't get paid for that time (unless you're on sick leave or another type of leave).

School-based apprentices

For school-based apprentices, the payment for trade school isn't worked out based on the actual hours you go to training. Instead, you get paid for 25% of the hours you work for your employer each week.

Example: Payment for training for school-based apprentices

Sean is a full-time school student doing a school-based apprenticeship. He works 8 hours per week with his employer.

Sean is paid:

  • for the 8 hours per week he works with his employer and
  • 2 hours per week for his off-the-job training (25% of 8 hours).

In total, Sean needs to be paid 10 hours per week.

Payment for training:

  • only applies when you're a full-time school student
  • is paid at the full-time apprentice hourly rate (including any all-purpose allowances)
  • can be averaged over a semester or the year.

If you aren't a full-time student you have to be paid your hourly rate for all the time spent in training.

Check your award to see if this applies to you.

Training costs – fees and textbooks

Many awards have entitlements for training costs, fees and textbooks.

You should be reimbursed for:

  • all the fees charged by your RTO that are related to your training
  • the cost of your prescribed textbooks for your apprenticeship.

Check your award to find out when you should be reimbursed.

When training costs aren't reimbursed

An employer doesn't have to reimburse you for fees and textbooks if:

  • your progress in the course is unsatisfactory
  • your employer pays the costs and fees directly to the training organisation, or
  • you aren't working for them at the set time that the costs have to be reimbursed.

If the Government reimburses you for any part of the training, the employer doesn’t have to reimburse you for those expenses.

Read more about what is considered unsatisfactory progress and how it affects training costs in our Library.

Check your award to see if this applies to you.

Find your award specific entitlements

Find more information about apprentice entitlements in your award by selecting from the list of industries below.

Industry Embedded Filter Placeholder

If your award is not listed, see our List of awards to access the one that applies to you.

Queensland apprentices

If you're an apprentice in Queensland, you may have different entitlements. Go to our Pay and Conditions Tool for more information.

Tools and resources

Related information

Have a workplace problem?

Problems can happen in any workplace. If you have a workplace problem, we have tools and information to help you resolve it.

Check out our Fixing a workplace problem section for practical information about:

  • working out if there is a problem
  • speaking with your employer or employee about fixing the problem
  • getting help from us if you can't fix the problem.