During National Apprenticeship Week HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is encouraging apprentices to claim the money that is rightfully theirs. Whether that’s making sure you’re being paid the correct hourly rate to claiming the savings in your Child Trust Fund, this is how to do it.
Know your worth
You’ve started an apprenticeship, you’re bringing home a wage, but are you getting paid correctly? Apprentices are the workers most likely to be underpaid according to The Low Pay Commission.
Apprentice pay rates
Most workers are legally entitled to the National Minimum Wage, but minimum rates of pay differ, depending on your age and what year of your apprenticeship you’re in.
- 16 to 18 years old and in an apprenticeship = £5.28 per hour
- 19 and over, first year apprentice = £5.28 per hour
- 19 or over and have completed your first year of apprenticeship? You are entitled to the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage rate for your age.
- Rates change on 1 April each year. Search ‘national minimum wage rates’ on GOV.UK.
Common mistakes made by employers include not paying apprentices for the time they spend training, or for all the time worked; and not increasing the hourly rate after the annual increase, or when the apprentice has completed their first year.
It is always worth checking your pay. If you think that you are not receiving the correct minimum wage:
- Speak with your employer or tutor if you are happy to do so.
- If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can always raise the issue with HMRC online at www.gov.uk/minimum-wage-complaint. This can be done any time – day or night. Watch this video to find out more.
- You can also call Acas on 0300 123 1100 for confidential advice or the Labour Relations Agency in Northern Ireland on 03300 555 300. Translation services are available.
Claim what’s yours
Child Trust Funds (CTF) are tax-free savings accounts set up by the Government for children born between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011.
The Government paid in at least £250, and families and friends were also able to contribute.
You can take control of your account from 16 years old and withdraw any savings when you turn 18 by contacting your CTF provider. If you don’t know who your CTF account is with, and your parents/guardian are none the wiser, you can ask HMRC.
You will need your National Insurance number to claim.
Find out how to claim on GOV.UK by searching ‘find a child trust fund’.
National Insurance number
Your National Insurance (NI) number ensures your NI contributions and tax are recorded against your name and unlocks access to a pension and benefits should you need them.
HMRC should send you your NI number a few months before you turn 16. If you don’t have it, search ‘apply for a National Insurance number’ on GOV.UK.
Our highly rated app is a useful tool. To use it, download the app from the App Store or Google Play and create a ‘Government Gateway’ account. You can access these useful features:
- View your NI number and save it to your mobile phone wallet.
- The tax calculator gives an annual, monthly and weekly estimate of your take home pay.
- View your take home pay a few days before pay day.
- Get a full summary of your employments, income, tax codes, income tax and NI paid for the past five years.
- View your State Pension and NI contributions.
- Find out how the government spends your taxes.
Protect yourself from the fraudsters who want to swindle you out of your hard-earned money.
More than 6,500 people aged 18 to 24 reported tax-related phone scams to HMRC last year.
Common scams includeoffers of a tax rebate, warnings that your tax details are out of date, or threats of immediate arrest for tax evasion.
If a phone call, text or email is suspicious or unexpected, don’t give out private information or reply, and don’t download attachments or click on links.
If you’re unsure about a text claiming to be from HMRC forward it to 60599, or an email to email@example.com. Report a tax scam phone call on GOV.UK.