Can an apprentice claim equal pay with another apprentice

(12 Posts)
pickmeupputmedown Thu 24-Mar-16 18:09:56

My 19 year old DD is in her second year of apprenticeship. She done her Level 2 at one nursery and is doing a Level 3 at her current one. This is relevant as the current one is allowed to pay £3.30 an hour as they count this as her 'first year of Level 3'. (I checked this out when she started as I had been under the impression that she would be on minimum wage as it was her 2nd year of apprenticeship and she was 19 but was told by ACAS and DWP that it was legal (although morally wrong) to do this). Because this is the career she wants then she decided to put up with it.

BUT, she has found out today that a new apprentice that started on Monday is being paid £6.80 an hour. This new apprentice gained her Level 2 at college and is now doing the same Level 3 as DD. The new apprentice is the same age and is doing the same nursery nurse role.

Would it be reasonable for DD to ask her employer why the pay is so different? There is a clause in her contract saying that they are not supposed to discuss wages but DD did not ask the new apprentice what she was earning. The new apprentice mentioned her income (and showed her the apprenticeship contract confirming it) when the other employees were discussing their new living wage.

DD recently passed the 3 month trial period and they confirmed they would keep her on but she is concerned that they will let her go if she queries the wage difference. Would they be able to do that?

Out2pasture Thu 24-Mar-16 18:15:05

the difference may be in the fact that the other apprentice has done her program through the college.

pickmeupputmedown Thu 24-Mar-16 18:24:32

I see that as the only difference Out2 but surely a Level 2 qualification is a Level 2 irrespective of whether it was done at college or at placement. You could say my DD has more 'hands on' experience.

Balletgirlmum Thu 24-Mar-16 18:31:54

It will likely be something to do with who is paying for the training.

Balletgirlmum Thu 24-Mar-16 18:34:25

Is the new apprentice actually a proper apprentice in that the nursery are paying her college fees & she is given day release to attend or is she employed as a minimum wage worker who is furthering her training in her own time & at her own expense.

pickmeupputmedown Thu 24-Mar-16 18:37:31

The contract that the new apprentice showed DD is the same as the one she has from the nursery but with different pay. DD is under the impression that the same apprenticeship company will be coming in to do the coursework for both and that she has left college to take up the apprenticeship.

pickmeupputmedown Thu 24-Mar-16 18:39:37

They are both working 40 hours p/w so it is not a day release from college situation.

MummyBex1985 Thu 24-Mar-16 18:58:32

The only way that equal pay can be claimed is if the only reason for the disparity in pay is the employees' gender.

Unless your DD is being discriminated against due to her sex, age, race, disability, religion or belief, pregnancy/maternity, marital status, gender reassignment or sexual orientation then theres probably no unlawful pay discrepancy (assuming she is receiving at least the correct wage for her age).

pickmeupputmedown Thu 24-Mar-16 22:13:54

Sorry to drip feed but DD just told me that the new apprentice is a lone parent with a 1 yr old child which now attends the nursery so I suppose they could be paying her more as she will have to use some of her income to pay the fees.

Is it worth DD asking the question as to the disparity and see if their answer relates to the discrimination act? Just seems a bit unfair to me if they are doing the same job that DD may be discriminated against for not having a child.

I don't begrudge the other apprentice earning what she needs to get by but DD was upset when she first started to find out she wasn't on minimum wage because of the loophole with 'first year level 3'. I managed to get her over that by saying it's just a year and to think long term but now she's feeling hard done by again.

lougle Thu 24-Mar-16 22:28:32

Technically she's doing two apprenticeships. It's not a loop hole. She's done a level 2 apprenticeship, and now she's doing a level 3 apprenticeship.

I don't think she'll get anywhere by suggesting that she's being discriminated against because she's not a parent. Even if it was true, there's no law against it. If the other employee is female there is no sex discrimination.

AgentProvocateur Thu 24-Mar-16 22:29:20

Having a child isnt a protected characteristic so there can be no discrimination. Your DD can and should ask about the disparity in wages, but in a calm and rational manner - not alleging discrimination. Also, she's 19 - an adult. You sound like you are goading her. Let her sort it out for herself.

pickmeupputmedown Thu 24-Mar-16 23:16:22

Thanks for your replies.

Agent - quite the opposite, DD was all set to go in all guns blazing on Tuesday but I was trying to establish the facts in order to calm her down

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