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The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched two new guides to assist apprentices and their employers to understand their rights and obligations in the workplace.

The guides — one for apprentices and one for employers — set out essential information about workplace rights and responsibilities including apprentice pay, rules around hiring apprentices and tips for resolving workplace issues.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said her agency wanted to ensure the apprenticeship experience is a productive and positive one for both apprentices and those who hire them.

“Hiring an apprentice is a great way to build a business and cultivate the next generation of workers, but it comes with responsibilities,” says James.

“It is important that employers seeking to take on an apprentice make sure they are aware of relevant laws and meet their obligations with regard to pay, entitlements and training.”

James said that apprentices were an ongoing focus for her agency due to their vulnerable status.

The results of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s National Apprenticeship Campaign, released in March this year, showed that one in three businesses audited failed to pay their apprentices correct wages.

“Factors including age and limited work experience make apprentices particularly vulnerable in the workplace,” says James.

“Despite accounting for less than three percent of the Australian workforce, apprentices make up a disproportionately high amount of dispute lodgements with my agency, at seven percent.

“Our new guide for apprentices will help them to understand their rights and entitlements as they commence their employment and equip them with the information they need to resolve workplace issues and seek support during their apprenticeship.”

The guides can be accessed at Fair Work’s Apprentice entitlements and Hiring employees pages.

Image credit: Cit

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