In this article, Shant Kumar Kurbur pursuing M.A, in Business Law from NUJS, Kolkata discusses all you need to know about Apprentices Act 1961.
The National Apprenticeship Act was launched in the year 1959 at first on voluntary cause. The Apprentices Act 1961 was presented in the Parliament during 1961 and came into effect from 1st January 1963. The act was eventually amended in 1973 and 1986. In the starting, the Act was meant for the training of trade apprentices.
The onus of administering the Apprentices Act, 1961 in relation to Trade Apprentices under Central Government and Departments lies with the Central Apprenticeship Adviser/Director of Apprenticeship Training in the DGE&T, Ministry of Labour and Employment with the help of six Regional Directorates of Apprenticeship Training (RDATs).
Primary Objective of the Act
The main objective of the Apprentices Act, 1961 is to meet the rising need for proficient craftsman. Giving experimental training to the people who’re specialized in their crafts is the primary aim of the Apprentice Act. Candidates holding Diploma and Engineering Graduates can likewise benefit from this plan. As per the announcement of Central Government any industry or any area the provisions of the act are applicable. It is assumed by means of the Government, to use, the infrastructure, space and provisions to be had for instruction of apprentices and to ensure that their preparation is concurring with a ponder program. With the progressive advancement of industries, different question initiated to manifest between the businesses and the students and to recoup from them. This Act should control and screen the preparation of students in exchanges and issues related with them.
The act envisages clarifying the connection between the various employers and apprentices. The apprentices aren’t dealt with as employees. This Act endeavours to make provisions for the health, protection, welfare and many others for the apprentices. It additionally includes provisions for settling disputes bobbing up out of the agreement between the employers and the apprentices.
Scheme of the Act
There are 38 Sections in generally and Schedule. This Schedule is in regards to the adjustments in the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923 with reference to its application to students under the Apprentices Act, 1961.
Who are Apprentices
An apprentice is someone who takes training in some company to master the competencies and crafts of a specific craft. The Apprenticeship Act explains apprentices to be the ones who receive apprenticeship or practical training under an apprenticeship scheme for a specified duration. The main requisites for a person to receive an apprentice training are that he/she should have attained an age of 14 years and for the trades where safety issues are concerned to the apprentice should have attained 18 years. Other than the above-prescribed qualification, extra qualifications may be prescribed for special trades and special categories of apprentices.
The phrases and conditions of an apprenticeship are mandated with the aid of an apprenticeship agreement. The agreement is entered into among a business enterprise and an apprentice. In case, an apprentice hired is a minor, his/her mother or father could enter right into a settlement with the company.
The terms and conditions which are mentioned in the agreement/contract should be mutually agreed to with the help of the parties for settlement. In any case, those phrases and conditions can’t be detracted under this Act or be varying with the provisions of this Act.
As per the Apprentice Act 1961, for the industries and trades which were informed by the Central Government in the Official Gazette, the act is applicable. The date of application may follow those particular circulars. Almost all the industries fall under the purview of the act. The Apprentice Act moreover may not be applicable to the special Apprenticeship programs of the government unless and until informed by the Central Government in the Official Gazette. For clearing the doubts, this act applies to those categories of apprenticeship where the practical education is necessary to the trade. ‘Internships’ are not covered under this act.
What is the Duration of Apprenticeship Training
The duration of apprenticeship training, which shall be clearly mentioned in the agreement of apprenticeship, will be as follows:-
- The apprentices related to any trade who, having gone through institutional schooling in a school or any institution-affiliated by the National Council, have cleared the trade exam or any examinations conducted that particular Council or by means of any institute affiliated with that particular Council, the period of apprenticeship training will be which include can be determined via that Council or via an group recognized through that Council.
- In an event any apprentices who have received training through any institute or school or college or other group affiliated to or recognized by using a Board or State Council of Technical Education or every other authority which the Central Government may via notification in the Official Gazette specify in this behalf, have cleared the trade exams or tests organized by that Board or State Council or authority, the period of apprenticeship education shall be along with can be prescribed.
- In an event of other apprentices, the length of apprenticeship training will be along with may be prescribed.
- The period/duration of the apprenticeship training shall be all inclusive and may be prescribed for graduate engineer trainee or technician apprentices or any vocational apprentices.
- Duration of the training period and the ratio of apprentices to skilled employees for distinctive trades have been prescribed in Apprenticeship Rules, 1991. Duration of Apprenticeship may be from six months to four years depending on the alternate, as prescribed in Rules. Period of training is decided via National Council for Education in Vocational Trades (hooked up through Government of India).
What are the Duties of an Apprentice
- An apprentice must master the selected trade with utmost attentiveness and awareness. He ought to strive exceptionally to qualify himself as a skilled person in the related trade for the period of apprenticeship.
- He has to attend all the practical and instructional sessions given by the employer or someone particular on his behalf on a normal basis.
- An apprentice must obey all lawful orders of the employer and other superiors in the organization.
- An apprentice should work for duration as specified by the employer which might be subject matter to the prescribed period of the training period.
- He should carry out all of the responsibilities which are mentioned in the apprenticeship agreement.
- The apprentice’s behaviour and the knowledge or skills will be assessed with the help of the person who set the guidelines and regulations that practice to corresponding employees in an establishment.
What are the Responsibilities of an Employer
- An employing company is obligated to deliver a duplicate of every apprenticeship agreement that he enters into within 30 days from the date of entering to the Apprenticeship marketing consultant. Once a portal internet site is made with the aid of the imperative government for this reason, then the business enterprise would possibly send the info of contracts within seven days from the date of entering.
- He shall reserve training locations for apprentices who belong to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other backwards categories. The size of places reserved for these classes must as per the provisions prescribed by the government, keeping in mind the population of every category in the country.
- The apprentices ought to be furnished with sufficient training in lines with the provisions of the act and also by means of the terms of the apprenticeship agreement. For this purpose, an enterprise must make good enough preparations for the cause of providing practical schooling.
- Good enough Instructors should be appointed for the purpose of training if the employer is not in a position of training the apprentices himself. The team of workers so appointed ought to have prescribed qualifications for the purpose of training the apprentice practically and theoretically to ease the trade test of the apprentices.
- The organization might be liable to compensate for any non-public accidents that an apprentice may suffer during the duration of apprenticeship. The compensation should paid as per the provisions of the Workmen’s Act 1923 as applicable.
- The organisation is obligated to pay the prescribed minimum wages to every apprentice or the prescribed minimum wages
- The provisions of the Manufacturing Unit’s Act, 1948 and Mines Act, 1952 shall apply to apprentices running in factories and mines, respectively, insofar because the matters relating to fitness, safety and welfare of the apprentices is concerned.
- An employer cannot compel apprentice to work overtime until and unless he has a due permission from the concerned Apprenticeship Advisor, who shall not permit until he is contented that an apprentice should work time beyond the prescribed time in his own interest or public interest.
- An apprentice must be allowed by the organisation to take leaves or vacations weekly as per the company’s policy.
Contract with Apprentice
Apprentice appointed has to execute a contract of apprenticeship with the employer. The agreement must be registered with Apprenticeship Adviser. If an apprentice is minor, an agreement has to be signed via his father or mother. Apprentice is eligible for a Casual leave of 12 days, Medical Leave of 15 days and other leaves of 10 days in 12 months.
Legal Role of Apprentices
- An apprentice is not a workman throughout the apprentice training program. Statutory benefits like Bonus, PF, ESI Act, Gratuity, Industrial Disputes Act and so forth aren’t applicable to the apprentice trainee.
- However, provisions of Factories Act concerning fitness, safety and welfare are applicable to the trainee. Apprentice is also entitled to get compensation from the employer for any kind of injuries happens during the period of employment.
- An employer is not obliged to employ the apprentice after of completion of apprenticeship.
Settlement of Disputes
Any argument or dispute which could rise under the apprenticeship agreement shall be raised to the Apprenticeship Advisor for resolution.
If any party to the apprenticeship agreement isn’t pleased with the decision of the Apprenticeship Advisor, then it is can approach the Apprenticeship Council which shall employ a Committee for the purpose of listening to the plead of the parties for resolving the issue. The decision made by the council would be deemed as final.
Novation of the Contract of Apprenticeship
In case an enterprise with whom the contract of apprenticeship has been signed, is not able to keep its promise under the agreement and with Apprenticeship Advisor’s consent it is accepted by the apprentice, company and apprentice’s guardian and any other company that the candidate shall be appointed as apprentice under the company for the portion of apprenticeship which is not expired. The agreement after registration with Apprenticeship Advisor, shall be considered as the contract apprenticeship among the apprentice or his/her guardian and any other company, and at the time of registration, the agreement with the previous employer shall be dissolved or terminated and no responsibility under the agreement or contract shall be applicable at the instance of any party to the agreement or contract opposite the other party thereto.
Conducting the Test and Grant of Certificate and Conclusion of Training
After successful completion of the apprenticeship training, every apprentice shall appear for an exam held by the National Council to evaluate his/her capabilities in related trade in which he/she has taken an apprenticeship training.
- As per the sub-section (1), every apprentice who clears the apprentice test shall be awarded a certificate of skillfulness in the trade by the National Council.
- The employer will evaluate the development of every Graduate or Technician apprentice, or Vocational apprentice periodically.
- After successful completion of the apprenticeship training, each graduate or technician apprentice or Vocational Apprentice will be awarded a proficiency certificate by the regional board.
On successful completion of the apprenticeship training, the apprentice shall serve the employer despite whatever mentioned in sub-section (1), where there is a clause in the contract/ agreement. The employer is responsible for offering a suitable job to the apprentice and the apprentice is bound to work for the employer in that ability for that duration and on the remuneration which is specified in the agreement/contract. The Apprenticeship Advisor should find the remuneration and duration reasonable; If not reasonable he may revise the duration and remuneration. The revised duration and remuneration shall be assumed to be the duration or remuneration accepted by both the employer and the apprentice.
What is the Commencement Date of Apprenticeship Training
The date on which the apprenticeship contract/agreement is executed is considered as the date of start of apprenticeship training program.
- The employer should send a copy of the apprenticeship contract to the apprenticeship advisor for registration within three months from the date of its execution.
- The employer should get the contract registered by the concerned Apprenticeship Advisor. The apprenticeship advisor approves the contract once satisfied that the described apprentice candidate is well qualified as per the act.
Termination of Contract
On completion of the duration of the apprenticeship training, the contract shall be terminated. The employer or The Apprentice can send the application for the termination of the contact to the concerned Apprenticeship Advisor and afterwards, can send a copy of the application to the other party.
On completion of the period of apprenticeship training, the contract/agreement of apprenticeship training shall terminate. Either party can apply for the termination of the contract to the concerned Apprenticeship Adviser and thereafter send a copy of the same to the other party. The Apprentice Advisor once satisfied that both employer and apprentice have failed to abide by the terms and conditions of the contract and it is desired by both the parties to terminate the contract, will register the same. Nevertheless, the employer shall pay the stipulated amount of compensation to the apprentice if the employer breaches the contract. In case the contract is the apprentice breaches the contract, he or his guardian shall refund the cost incurred on the training to the employer.
Common Misuses of Apprentice Act
- Some employers are engaging the apprentices who are not qualified enough for hiring and also failing to execute the terms and conditions of a contract/agreement of apprenticeship or breach the provisions of the Act regarding the number of apprentices which he is supposed to hire as per the provisions of the act.
- The Employer is supposed to make appropriate arrangements in his workshop for offering the practical training to the apprentice in compliance with the apprentice act. Most of the employers do not adhere to it. They do not obtain permission from central and state Apprenticeship Advisor.
- Sometimes apprentice is not allowed by the employer to learn the work related to their trade, which is mandatory as per the Section 10 of Apprentice Act, 1961. The employers may not treat the time spent by the apprentice in attending such kind of workshops as part of their paid period of work.
- Most of the employers are not paying the stipend to the apprentice as per the Rule 11 of the Apprenticeship Rules, 1991.
- The employers are violating the provisions of the act and are not paying the stipend for the month before the 10th day of the following month.
- If an apprentice takes a casual leave or medical leave, some of the employers are deducting from the stipend, which is against the act.
- Some companies are engaging the apprentices to work in night shifts between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. without the permission of the Apprenticeship Adviser.
- In some cases, the total number of hours per week is more than the prescribed hours i.e. 42 to 48 hours.
- The employer may not allow the apprentices to take any leaves.
- The employers are not allowing the apprentice any holidays which are followed in the establishment.
- During apprenticeship training, if any apprentice meets with any accident or personal injury, the employer is responsible for paying the compensation to the apprentice as per the provisions of the Workmen’s Compensation Act.
- An employer may not be concerned about health, safety and welfare of an apprentice as per the provisions of the Factories Act.
- The employer may appoint an apprentice on any work which is not related or connected with the training of the apprentice.
- The employer may not extend his cooperation to the concerned authority for visiting, inspecting, examining or inquiring.
- The employer may pay to an apprentice on hourly work rate basis, which is in the provision of the act.
- The employer may not encourage an apprentice to participate in any schemes like output bonus or incentive schemes.
- The employer may not allow the Central Apprenticeship Advisor to enter the organization to check whether the training rendered to the apprentices is an approved program.
- Some employers are employing apprentices who are untrained and not taken any training in any institute or school which is recognised or affiliated by the National Council or state council or any recognised board.
- As per Section 3(A), employers aren’t reserving a training site for SC and ST apprentices for every assigned trade, training.
Amendment to the Apprentices Act – Significant Changes
- To make sure that the Apprentice Act is implemented effectively, some changes were also made by the Apprentices (Amendment) Act, 2014 and it came into effect on 22 December 2014.
- Below given are some of the main modifications which are brought about by the Amendment.
- To include agency workers and contractual workers the definition of ‘worker’ has been widened. That is applicable because the number of employees in a status quo is one of the constituents which might be considered even as determining the number of apprentices to be appointed within the company.
- The amendment to the apprentice Act has paved the way for the transformation of conventional methods of records to electronic records and information systems by launching a portal. The portal would allow certain activities like registering the apprenticeship contract, maintenance of records and filing the returns etc., which can be done online now.
- Due to the amendment in the apprentice act, there is a change in the procedure of checking the strength of apprentices to be employed.
- If anyone violates the Apprentice Act imprisonment is no more a penalty. Following the amendment, if anyone is not abiding the provisions of the Act payment of a fine is the only punishment.
- The main objective behind these changes seems to make sure that employers employ more and more apprentices, and to encourage the organizations abide by the provisions of the Apprentices Act.
Why Should Employers Encourage Apprenticeship
By participating in apprenticeship schemes the organization or employer are getting skilled and trained employees, which serves as an investment in coming times. Employer’s participation in apprenticeship programs aids the organization in attracting top talent. The employer can hire competent and well-qualified employees, who are capable enough of progressing to more responsible and challenging positions. By participating in apprenticeship programs the employer can make sure that the training standards are met and are revamped. The cost incurred on training is also minimized and employee turnover also lessened.
The Apprenticeship Act helps in settlement of disputes between the employer and apprentice and the Apprenticeship Advisor is the judging authority. They should make an appeal before the committee formed by the council. The employer will be penalised if he is not abiding with the provision of the act. To protect the rights of the employer and safeguard the rights of apprentice the Apprentice Act, 1961 can be treated as an extensive law. The Apprentice act can be executed to safeguard the rights of the apprentice and succeed over the problems faced by the apprentice throughout the training period.
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