How much paperwork is involved to hire an apprentice in Australia?

Hiring an apprentice can be a daunting process for an employer. On top of recruiting and coaching you also have to complete some essential documentation that must be kept up to date throughout the duration of their apprenticeship (typically between 1-4yrs). So what are your documenting responsibilities as an employer of an Australian Apprentice?

Know your obligations

First things first, before starting your paperwork and hiring process you need to understand exactly what responsibilities you have as an apprentice employer. Apprentices in the Australian workplace must receive the same entitlements as any other employee. This means maximum work hours, annual leave, sick leave and public holidays.

The best way to find out exactly what structures and entitlements you need to provide your apprentice with, is to search for an award that applies to your business. An award is a legal document that outlines the conditions of employment. There are 122 different awards that cover the majority of business and employees in Australia, each details things such as:

  • Apprentice pay.
  • Work rosters.
  • Hours of work.
  • Overtime.
  • Breaks.
  • Allowances.
the training contract is a legally binding document.The Formal Training Contract must be agreed on by both the apprentice and the employer.

Formal Training Contract

When you have a clear view of your employer obligations and have hired an apprentice that you think is a great fit for your business, the biggest document you will have to contend with is the Formal Training Contract.

The Training Contract is the basis of an apprenticeship – you cannot pay someone as an apprentice unless this contract is in place. It is a legally binding agreement that protects both employer's and apprentice's interests. Once drawn up this contract can only be cancelled with consent from both parties (apprentice and employer), or in certain circumstances if one party applies for cancellation from the relevant State Training Authority.

The document will include:

  • The qualification to be completed by the apprentice.
  • The number of hours of training and employment that will be provided each week.
  • An estimate of the duration of the apprenticeship.
  • Employer and apprentice obligations to each other.
  • What to do if there is a problem.

The Training Contract will be completed with guidance from your Apprenticeship Network Provider. Once it is completed and signed by both parties it will be lodged with the Network Provider and approved by the state or territory training authority. It's also a good idea for the employer and the apprentice to keep a copy each so they can refer to it whenever they need to.

Apprentice's records must be looked after by their employer for at least seven years.

Continued record keeping

As an employer of an Australian Apprentice you also have a continued responsibility to keep track of important records throughout the course of the apprenticeship.

The records that you must keep for your apprentices are:

  • Wages.
  • Overtime hours.
  • Hours of normal work.
  • Superannuation contributions.
  • Leave periods.
  • Termination of employment.

You must also keep records of each apprentices' general employment details such as:

  • Full legal name.
  • Apprentice's employment status  (full-time/part-time, permanent/fixed term).
  • Date the apprentice's employment began.

Letter of engagement

Though not strictly required, it is best practice to issue your apprentice with a letter of engagement. The letter will provide your apprentice with an outline of what is expected of them and the basic terms of their employment. It's a good idea to include:

  • Copies of any relevant company policies that they will have to abide by. For example dress code, code of conduct etc.
  • Forms that they will need to complete such as the Tax File Declaration.
  • A copy of the Fair Work Information Statement, that must be given to every employee when they begin work.

Application for incentive and awards

Many employers of Australian Apprentices are eligible for Australian Government Incentives and awards. These incentives are designed to support and encourage the hiring of apprentices in important skill areas. There are a number of incentives schemes available, for example:

  • Commencement Incentives.
  • Recommencement Incentives.
  • Completion Incentives.
  • Support for Adult Australian Apprentices Incentive.
  • Declared Drought Area Incentives.
  • Mature Aged Workers Incentives.
  • Australian School-based Apprenticeship Incentive.
  • Assistance for Australian Apprentices with Disability.

Keeping track of incentives applications and the payouts of various funds is another aspect of paperwork that must be handled by employers of Australian Apprentices. Your Apprenticeship Network Provider will be able to help you apply and maintain your incentive payments.

How can MAS National help?

As an Apprenticeship Network Provider MAS National provides personalised, free support to both employers and apprentices throughout an apprenticeship. By focusing on building trusting relationships with employers, MAS National is able to help alleviate the paperwork burden. They provide expert assistance in forming training contracts, hiring apprentices, monitoring progression throughout the apprenticeship and providing assistance if any problems arise.

If you're thinking of hiring an apprentice and are unsure where to start with the paperwork, get in touch with MAS National today.