Apprentice Pay

Apprentices get paid a percentage of a tradesperson's wage.

Young Workers Advice Service Team avatar
Written by Young Workers Advice Service Team
Updated over a week ago

If you're currently undertaking an apprenticeship your pay rates will depend on how long your apprenticeship is, which year of your apprenticeship you are in and whether you finished Year 12. This fact sheet is a general guide to how apprentices are paid and some of the rules around pay increases and hours paid.

To check that your specific pay rate is correct or to find out more about how apprentices are paid, you can email us with your current pay rate and some details about your work at

When will my pay rate increase?
Apprentice pay rates increase for two reasons. Your pay rates may increase over time (usually in 12 month periods) or when you complete certain training requirements of the apprenticeship. When you complete your apprenticeship you should start getting paid the regular trades-persons pay rate. 

What work/hours should I be paid for?

Most Modern Awards have the same rules regarding what apprentices should be paid for. This includes off-the-job training at the relevant Registered Training Organisation, which is included in your ordinary working hours. You should also be reimbursed for the training fees and any prescribed textbooks related to your apprenticeship unless your achievement in the course in unsatisfactory. 

Australian School Based Apprenticeships (ASBA) are paid differently. Rather than being paid for all hours spent at school in addition to being paid for the hours spent at work, those doing an ASBA are paid for the hours at work + 25%. For example, if you work 10 hours in a week, you will get paid for the 10 hours and an additional 2.5 hours (25%).

Please check your award for your specific entitlements as some do differ.

Scenario 1

Alex is working full-time as an electrical apprentice. She works Monday to Wednesday and goes to her trade school Thursday to Friday. Alex's boss pays her for the on-site training she does at the beginning of the week but refuses to pay her for off-site training even though the Award says she should. 

This is not okay. Alex should be paid for the training done both on and off site. 

Scenario 2

Sally works full-time as an apprentice chef. She has recently completed the first year of her apprenticeship and has noticed that her pay rate is still $18.94 - the Award rate for a first year apprentice chef. 

This is not okay. Sally's pay should have increased when she completed her first year.

What do I do if I think I am not being paid properly? 

To check if you are being paid properly, you can check your pay slip. Your pay slip should clearly state the amount you are being paid, and list any casual loadings or penalties you are receiving. 

If you think you are not being paid properly, get in touch with us. We can give you advice about what you are entitled to, and help you decide what to do. We can also direct you to other people who can help.  

To find out more about how to join your union, visit or have a look at our fact sheet here.

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