Employers Urged To Register Apprentices Without Delay

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23rd November 2009, 11:00am - Views: 871

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 2 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 

Media Release

           23 Nov 2009

Employers urged to register apprentices without

delay to avoid wage breaches

The Fair Work Ombudsman is urging Western Australian employers not to delay

registering new apprentices.

WA Director Leigh Quealy says his office has encountered more than 10 cases this

year of employers delaying or completely failing to lodge apprenticeship

agreements for young workers.

“Only registered apprentices can be paid apprentice rates, but we are finding

some employers paying at this level despite not having officially registered their

workers,” he said.  

“When inspectors come across cases where employers have been erroneously

paying a worker apprentice rates for some time, the business can find itself faced

with a significant underpayment.

“The employer ends up being hit with a hefty bill for back-payment of wages that

was not budgeted for.”

Mr Quealy says that despite receiving their proper entitlements, the young

workers also suffer because they often have to start their formal apprenticeship


“Some employers seem to think they can pay apprenticeship rates if the intention

is to sign an apprenticeship agreement and that agreements can be back-dated,”

he said.

“This is often not the case. The Department of Education and Training’s

ApprentiCentre determines whether apprenticeships can be back-dated on a case

by case basis.”

Recent examples of this occurring include:


young northern suburbs electrician being paid apprentice rates for four

months despite his employer not lodging an apprenticeship agreement. The

employer had to back-pay the worker $5412.

A young Geraldton plumber being back-paid $4425 after his employer delayed

lodgement of the apprenticeship agreement by four months, and


northern suburbs employer being found to have underpaid a young

electrician a total of $9892 as a result of paying him apprentice rates for five

months before lodging an apprenticeship agreement.

… 2

People Feature Fair Work Ombudsman 3 image

Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 


The young electrician has not yet been back-paid and the employer may face

legal action.

Mr Quealy says the issue is state-wide across a variety of industries, with several

complaints coming from apprentices in industries including electrical trades,

construction and hairdressing.

Employers or employees seeking information or assistance should call the Fair

Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit www.fwo.gov.au For translations call 13 14 50.

The Fair Work Ombudsman promotes harmonious, productive and co-operative

workplaces. It also monitors compliance and investigates breaches of national

workplace laws.

Media inquiries: 

Craig Bildstien, Director Media & Stakeholder Relations. 0419 818 484.


Ryan Pedler, Senior Adviser Media & Stakeholder Relations. (03) 9954

2561, 0434 365 924. ryan.pedler@fwo.gov.au

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