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Made Redundant as an Apprentice after asking for Minimum Wage

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Hi guys! This is my first ever post on here and I'm in desperate need of help.

 

 

I was employed as an apprentice from June 2015 working towards my NVQ Level 2 in Customer Service. Originally, my NVQ was supposed to end in October 2016 but as my employer refused to let me work towards it (I was told that absolutely everything else in the office took priority over my NVQ work) the end date was extended by my NVQ assessor to October 2017. When my end date was extended, my NVQ assessor informed me that the minimum wage I was entitled to would have increased in June 2016 (after completing my first year of employment) and that my employer had been paying me below this amount for the past 4 months. My assessor told me that they would pass this information on to my manager and confirmed that they had done so via email.

 

Four weeks passed with no mention of this at work at all. My NVQ assessor came into the office to help me get started on the next part of my course. At the end of the day, they asked me if anything had been said about my wage increasing and the money that I was owed. I confirmed that nothing had been mentioned. She went and had a word with my manager and came back and told me that my employer knows that they need to back pay me and that they were going to deal with it shortly.

 

Two days later, my manager asked me to go to a one-to-one meeting where they confirmed that I was going to be back paid the amount of money that I was owed but that, due to a move-around in our department, my position no longer existed and that I would be out of a job this time next week. I was told that there were no problems with my performance, only that my role didn't exist anymore.

 

A reshaping of our department had never been discussed, nor was I ever told that my role might not be there in the future. I was also only given 6 days notice when my contract said that I was entitled to a minimum of 3 weeks. Also, no-one else in the company has lost their job as a result of the reshuffle: I am the only person to have been negatively affected by this. I called ACAS and they told me to write down everything that I think my employer did wrong in a letter and then send it to my employer. The lady on the phone then said to wait 14 days and try to begin the early conciliation process. She told me that it sounded like what my employer did to me was illegal and I've gone through loads of other articles online posted by Law Firms which all seem to suggest that this I have been made redundant unfairly.

 

I was just wondering what other people make of this? Has my employer acted wrongly and am I right in looking to escalate this? I'm really distressed due to the time of year where this has happened and I just want to make sure that I'm doing the right thing.

 

Thank you all so much! Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Hello and welcome to CAG.

 

I expect the employment guys will be along later, but I know from reading previous apprenticeship queries that it isn't usually as simple as the employer terminating the contract. Your college would be involved, if you have one?

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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well, you are certainly owed money for the min wage shortfall and the lack of notice period plus any holiday pay you are owed (easy to calculate).

 

You can take this to an ET but that may mean putting a deposit down to do so, you need to speak to your assessor and dig out the apprenticeship indenture to see what it says. Generally apprentices cannot be made redundant other than under very strict criteria and this isnt one of them. Apprentices dont reshuffle for starters

 

You seem to ahve a n employer who takes the govt money for having an apprentice so it costs them almost nothing and then breaks the law in how it treats you. Your assessor will hopefully be able to guide you through what you need to do if you fancy going to an ET, if you just want the money with less hassle then a small claims claim for money owed due to a breach of contract is the way.

 

How old are you?

Edited by honeybee13
Paras

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Thank you very much for your responses guys. I'm 23 years old and I'm not attending college. I didn't do as well as I would like in school / college so I've gone down the apprenticeship route to try and gain some more qualifications. My NVQ training and progress towards the qualification was provided by County Training which is ran by my local council.

 

I've looked into the ET costs and I think that I would be able to get the fee reduced or waived as I have very little in savings and am now entitled to job seekers but I'd like to use it as a last resort and try and get everything resolved without needing to go to one. Everything has just seemed so wrong to me it feels like something can't be right. Literally 2 days after they realise I'm supposed to be earning more they make me redundant without notice. I feel like I've been punished for daring to ask to be made the legal minimum!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond though, I am very appreciative of all the help you have to offer!

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Thank you for the extra information.

 

Have you signed a contract with the employer?

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I do have a contract from my employer that just says that my job title is "apprentice" and that my roles and responsibilities are to essentially do whatever the directors of the company thought was best for the business.

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There are some very strict responsibilities on the employer's part for apprenticeships. It would seem that they have acted unlawfully in several respects

 

You are doing right by researching, and a letter to the employer setting out your grievances and what they need to do to redress these is a good first step. You could potentially have a valid claim for losses through to when your contract would have ended, plus a compensatory award on top for the fact that the qualifications that were working towards might not now be possible to achieve and this would affect your employability for alternative roles.

 

This will largely depend on the nature of the apprenticeship, whether traditional or modern and how the employer has set out the terms of your contract. You need to check that and almost certainly seek proper legal advice, maybe with a free legal consultation in the first instance


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I bet it doesnt say that but that is how you interpret it. You can post it up here in full and we can try and help define your exact staus. you will still need to get information from your NVQ assessor with regard to how they view your employment. As siad, most companies get money from the Govt for apprenticeships and training so knowing which they are trousering is importamt as they have different legal implications.

I do have a contract from my employer that just says that my job title is "apprentice" and that my roles and responsibilities are to essentially do whatever the directors of the company thought was best for the business.

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apprentice = apprentice rates - not minimum pay rates, same as we had 5 years of apprentice rates (Based on Agricultural rates in the 50s), that is what apprenticeships are about later years you will no doubt be well above normal earnings , if you are good at the job and learnt from scratch = walk before you run!

 

By the way my apprenticeship rate was 10 shillings (50 pence) a week minus tool fund, no not cheap living then either,


:mad2::-x:jaw::sad:

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Thank you very much for all of the advice and the links that you have provided me with guys! I really appreciate all of your help. I've uploaded a scan of my contract for everyone to look at. I really hope everything is okay here as I'm very worried about everything at the moment!

Pages 1 and 2.jpg

Pages 3 and 4.jpg

Pages 5 and 6.jpg

Pages 7 and 8.jpg

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OK, in short, you are not an appreantice as such but that is merely a job title they have given you and I equate it with "trainee" or "office junior". Now, your NVQ may alter that somewhat, I have only ever done an NVQ in sports coaching so the protocols are no doubt different and advise you to speak to the assessor regarding this.

 

However, your contract contains things that are not lawful viz: points 8.3, you have to actually opt out, you cannot be opted out by appointment and the notice fr opting back in to the 48 hr week is not 3 months but just be letter withdrawing from the opt out so at most a month.

 

Next point 10.2. The WTD is clear on this as well regarding notice period for holidays and the company cannot take away your rights as they are claiming to do with this clause.

 

13.1 30 days notice each side so you get a months pay at least for being "made redundant" and I reckon a couple of weeks more money for holidays and for their failure to follow the law on this ( they get penalised a weeks pay for unlawful dismissal which is different to unfair dismissal). Also calculate what the min wage is for a 23 yo and see it that equates to what you get for a 37.5 hr week (assuming 1 hr lunch)

 

Also the minimum wage was £6.70/hr for 2015 and £6.95 for 2016 so you have benen unlawfully underpaid since you started. Proper apprenticeships pay a bursary but you dont have the necessary indenture to make this a reality so the min wage for an apprentice as you are described is the same as for your age anyway.

 

Your ex-employer shoud be presented with an invoice for all of the shortfall and notice that you expect to be paid the lot within a fortnight or you will take such action as necessary to recover the monies.

 

Small claims court is the cheapest and simplest but I think for min wage matters you are obliged to inform the Govt anyway so an ET will be the more likley venue. Again check that out by phoning ACAS or local CAB.

 

ACAS may very well take this matter on for you if the ex-employer is amenable. If they are not they stand to lose a lot more as they can be fined and publicly named and shamed so an agreement with a gagging clause will probably suit them unless they are particulary stupid

Edited by honeybee13
Paras.

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Hey guys,

 

I hope everyone has been well and that you all enjoyed the festive season. Before I give an update as to where I am at the moment, I'd just like to say a massive thank you to ericsbrother for the help that he provided me with. You really helped me get my head around my contract and I can't thank you enough.

 

So since I last posted, I have been in touch with ACAS and explained my matter to them. They assigned me an agent and a case number and we have had a couple of conversations where he has requested more information relating to my dismissal. I gave him a timeline of all the relevant events that led up to me being made redundant and informed him of what I was seeking to claim (the difference between what I was paid during the first year of my employment and the National minimum wage, the pay I should have been given for the additional 24 days notice that I was entitled to but not provided with, money for breaching contract and not following the law and damages for being unfairly made redundant. He then passed all this information on to my employer and we are now awaiting an official response.

 

I say official response as I have heard from one of my friends who still works at the company in question that there is a rumour going around the office that I am going to be offered my job back to get me to stop pursuing claims against them and I was hoping to get a bit of advice regarding this. As much as I would like to finish off my apprenticeship to obtain my qualification, I do not think that I could go back to work for this company. I suffer quite badly from social anxiety and I don't think that I would be able to work in the same building (which feels like a toxic environment) knowing that they don't value me as an employee nor as a person and that they immediately treated me in a very nasty manner as soon as I asked to be paid the legal minimum. I don't think I could work effectively in this context and I don't believe that I could emotionally cope with it. I just wanted to know if I get offered my old job back, will it look bad on my part if I decline it? I know that it might affect any claim that they caused me to lose future earnings, but will it have a negative impact on anything else that I am contesting?

 

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this guys; any and all help is greatly appreciated!

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Not accepting the job back may well give them the opportunity to limit the amount they ahve to pay you IF there was redundancy but as we know that this dismissal didnt fit the redundancy criteria then they wont be reeling any money back.

As for teh rest, it is all a breach of a contract and now they have done that you dont have to agree to mend the chain they have broken. If seems like they know they are in the merde and want to trya nd salvage a bit from the wreckage.

Anyway, they may well just take you back and then give you a fortnights notice of dismissal and you are gone without a penny.

Look forward, not behind. You deserve better than they can ever offer you.

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Can I just clarify - you are in pre-claim conciliation? You have made a claim to a tribunal? And that is why ACAS are involved, yes?

 

In which case no - you don't have to accept the job back and it has no impact on your claim. What happens in pre-claim conciliation has no impact on a tribunal hearing. If the offer they make you, assuming they make one, is not acceptable, then you tell them that. This is where the haggling part. Your main claim is unfair dismissal for exercising a statutory right (the right to the minimum wage) - you don't have two years service so you can't claim "unfair redundancy" because unless one of the exceptions apply (which it does) unfair dismissal isn't a claim you can make. If this went to a tribunal, tribunals will not often order reinstatement; and very rarely without the agreement of both parties. They won't know what happened with ACAS, so the fact you refused reinstatement will not be relevant. If the employer offered it at tribunal, the panel will ask you whether you agree and you are at liberty to explain why you refuse. They might take it into account in their deliberations about awards. But if they find against the employer on a dismissal for excercising a statutory right, it's not likely. Broadly speaking, they aren't idiots and they wouldn't trust the employer not to abuse it either!

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Thank you very much for your help guys! I can confirm that we are in pre-claim conciliation at the moment and I haven't contacted an employment tribunal as of yet (I will do so if the conciliation service doesn't resolve the issues though).

 

I really appreciate you guys taking the time to read this and to look into everything for me. I will keep you all posted as things progress!

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Nah, not ET, small claims court unles you want to hammer them for breaking the law rather than getting your money from them. Different costs and timescales so take advice as you may well be timed out for ET if not careful.

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