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Can I dismiss an apprentice?

Can I dismiss an apprentice?

If the apprentice is employed under an apprenticeship agreement you can terminate their employment by following the same procedures as you would with any other employee in the business.

If the company will not be employing the apprentice after the completion of their apprenticeship this is likely to constitute a dismissal (regardless of the fact that their fixed term has expired). You should therefore treat the expiry of their fixed term like any other dismissal, i.e. be able to show that one of the five potentially fair reason for dismissal apply, most likely SOSR, and be able to demonstrate that you followed a fair procedure in relation to the dismissal. Failure to do so may give grounds for an unfair dismissal claim. Although apprentices who have worked for the company for less than 2 years would only be able to bring a claim in limited circumstances.

If the apprentice is employed under a contract of apprenticeship then dismissing them before the end of their apprenticeship is high risk unless it can be shown that they are essentially unteachable. An apprentice whose apprenticeship ends early could be entitled to claim sums in respect of loss of earnings, loss of training and loss of future career prospects. Please speak to your legal advisor for further advice in these circumstances.