The National Apprenticeship Act was enforced in the year 1959 at first on the voluntary cause. The bill was presented before the parliament during 1961 and was enforced from 1st January 1963. The act was amended twice in 1973 and 1986.
There are 38 sections and one schedule. The schedule is in regard to the adjustments in Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923 with reference to its application to students under the Apprentices Act, 1961.
For the administration of Apprentices Act, 1961 in relation to trade apprentices under Central Government and Department lies with the Central Apprenticeship Advisor/ Director of Apprenticeship Training in the DGE&T, Ministry of Labour and Employment with the help of six Regional Directorate of Apprenticeship Training (RDATs).
The objective of the Apprentices Act, 1961
The main objective of the Apprentices Act, 1961 was to meet the rising need for a proficient craftsman. To provide experimental training to the people whore specialized in their crafts is the main objective of the act. As per the announcement of the central government, any industry or any area these provisions are applicable. The act clarifies the connection between the various employers and apprentices. The apprentices are not dealt in the same way as employees. The act aims to make provisions for the health, protection welfare, and many others for apprentices. It also includes the dispute management arising out of the agreement between the employers and the apprentices.
Who are Apprentices?
Act explains apprentices to be the ones who receive apprenticeship or practical training under an apprenticeship scheme for a specified duration. The person undergoing the training must be of 14 years of age, and in case of special safety requirement, the minimum age requirement is 18 years. Other than the aforementioned 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 the apprenticeship agreement. The terms and conditions of the contract must be mutually agreed between the parties. The terms and conditions of the contract must not be in contravention with the provisions of the act. This act applies to those categories of apprenticeship where practical education is necessary to the trade. The provisions of this act are not applicable to the internship.
Duties of Apprentice
- He is expected to master the opted trade with utmost attentiveness and awareness, and exceptionally qualify himself as a skilled person.
- He is expected to attend all the practical and instructional sessions given by the employer or on behalf of the employer.
- He must obey all the lawful orders of the employee.
- He must work for the duration specified, which the subject matter of the prescribed training period.
- He must shoulder the responsibilities mentioned in the agreement.
Responsibility of an Employer
- He must reserve training seats for the ST/SC/OBC apprentice agreement
- The apprentice must be given sufficient training in accordance with The Apprentice Act, and the terms of the agreement entered between the parties.
- In the case where the employer is not of the capacity to train the apprentice, there must be sufficient instructors capable of training the apprentices.
- An apprentice is entitled to be remunerated as per the prescribed minimum wages to every apprentice.
- An apprentice is entitled to get leave, vacations, and weekly holidays in line with the policies of the company.
- An apprentice is entitled to get compensation for every act suffered by the apprentice during the period of apprenticeship. The compensation should be paid as per the provisions of the Workmen’s Act 1923 as applicable.
- An apprentice cannot be compelled by an employer to work overtime until the same is prescribed by the Apprenticeship Advisor. The due permission granted by the Apprenticeship advisor must be subject to apprentice’s interest or public interest.
Legal Nuances of Apprentices
- An apprentice is not entitled to get statutory benefits like Bonus, PF, Gratuity, Industrial Dispute Act, because the apprentice is not a workman throughout the apprentice training program.
- However, provisions pertaining to fitness, safety, wealth embodied in Factories Act are applicable to the trainee.
- An employer is under no legal mandate to employ the apprentice after the completion of the apprenticeship.
- Any dispute which may arise during the period of apprenticeship must be raised before Apprenticeship Advisor for resolution.
Grant of certificate/ conclusion of the training
After the completion of the training, it is mandatory for the apprentices to undergo the exam conducted by the National Council for the evaluation of his capabilities and then to grant the certificate for the apprenticeship training which she had taken. After completion of the apprenticeship training, each graduate or technician/vocational apprentice will be awarded a proficiency certificate by the regional board.
Why must Apprenticeship be encouraged?
When a significant number of apprentices are engaging themselves in Apprenticeship, the number of skilled and trained individuals would eventually increase. As a result of which employers are getting skilled employers which prove out to be beneficial for the company with a minimum training cost incurred by the company. The cost incurred on training is minimized, and employee turnover is lessened. By encouraging participation in apprenticeship programs, the employer can make a concern regarding the standards of training being met and revamped.
The Apprenticeship Act helps in the settlement of disputes between the employer and apprentice, and the same is adjudicate by apprenticeship advisor is the judging authority. The employer will be penalized if his acts are not found to be in accordance with the provisions of the act. To safeguard the rights of both employer and apprentice, the Apprentice Act, 1961 can be treated as an extensive law. An apprentice can execute the provisions of the act and overcome the problems faced by him throughout the training period.