Careers & Training

Apprentice attendance at Trade School and reimbursement of fees

There are a number of questions commonly asked by Master Plumbers members. in regard to the reimbursement of school fees for apprentices.

With regards to an apprentice, two (2) of the most commonly asked questions are:

  • “Do I have to pay my apprentice when they attend Trade School?” and
  • “Do I have to reimburse the apprentice for their Trade School Fees?”

Do I have to pay my apprentice when they attend Trade School?

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Apprentice attendance at Trade School and reimbursement of fees

If you are covered by the Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award 2010 (PFS Award) the answer to both questions is “yes”.  Clause 15.10 of the PFS Award makes it compulsory for an employer to pay an apprentice when the apprentice is at Trade School.  Clause 15.11 of the PFS Award requires an employer to reimburse an apprentice their Trade School fees (which includes prescribed courses and textbooks) “unless there is unsatisfactory progress”.

If you are covered by the Plumbers Union Agreement the answer is “yes”. Clause 19.5 of the Plumbers Union Agreement requires an employer to pay an apprentice their “wages and allowances” (fares allowance and travel allowance) when the apprentice is at Trade School.  Clause 19.8 of the Plumbers Union Agreement requires an employer to reimburse an apprentice their “tuition fees and costs of materials … at the end of each year”  To support the reimbursement claim the apprentice needs to provide “evidence of payment” and demonstrate “satisfactory completion of such training”.

If you are covered by a company specific enterprise agreement made after 1 January 2014, the answer is more than likely “yes”, but it really depends upon the wording of the enterprise agreement. 

If you are covered by a company specific enterprise agreement made before 1 January 2014, the answer depends upon the wording of the enterprise agreement. 

Should there be any questions about the payment of an apprentice at Trade School or the reimbursement of their Trade School Fees please contact Phil Eberhard - [email protected] or 0425 790 722.

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Do I have to pay my apprentice when they attend Trade School?

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