What can I expect from my training?

Trainee tips: rights and obligations

Who from student to Trainee a new phase of life begins. You leave the familiar surroundings of the school and enter a new world - the professional world. “Apprenticeship years are not master years,” it is often said. In fact, the training serves to acquire important basics and skills. Correspondingly, companies also expect their trainees to show the necessary commitment. But Apprentices not only have duties, but also rights. You should know them beforehand if possible ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Trainee rights: What trainees are entitled to

No question about it: In the first few weeks everything is still strange and it will take some time before you get to know the company and your new job. The training is a time in which you gain new experiences, learn a trade and acquire knowledge in a specific area. With this change, however, come new ones right hand in hand.

So that the vocational training is uniform and, for example, an apprentice painter in Hesse learns the same as an apprentice painter in Lower Saxony, the federal government issues one for each state-recognized training occupation Training regulations. This describes the profession and specifies the skills and knowledge to be acquired for this.

The most important document that regulates your rights, but also your obligations during the training, is yours Apprenticeship contract. Section 11 of the Vocational Training Act stipulates which points the training contract must contain. They are the following:

  • The factual and temporal structure of the training: This means the company training plan. It says which departments you are going through.
  • The beginning and duration of the training: The normal duration of the training is regulated by law. In most training courses, it is three years.
  • The training location and exceptions outside the training company: The place of training can play a role in travel costs. If you are deployed elsewhere than stipulated in the training contract, your employer must pay the costs incurred.
  • The duration of the regular daily training period: This means your working hours, when you start, when you finish work and whether you work in shifts.
  • The duration of the trial period: According to Section 20 of the Vocational Training Act, the trial period must be at least one month and may not exceed four months.
  • The amount of the training allowance: The contract must state the gross salary for each year of the apprenticeship.
  • The duration of the vacation: Your entitlement to vacation must also be recorded.
  • The requirements for a termination: The apprenticeship contract must also state when and how the apprenticeship relationship can be terminated.

What shouldn't be in your apprenticeship contract:

  • The trainer must not ask you to pay anything for your training.
  • Neither may the contract stipulate that you have to stay with the company after completing your training.
  • Agreements that prohibit or restrict the practice of your profession after completing your training are invalid.
  • All information on contractual penalties that occur, for example, in the event of early termination of training, is also invalid.

Working hours: how long can you work as an apprentice?

How many hours a day a trainee can work depends on their age. If you are of legal age, the labor law applies:

The working day of the employee may not exceed eight hours. It can only be extended to up to ten hours if within six calendar months or within 24 weeks an average of eight hours on working days is not exceeded.

Workdays mean the days of the week from Monday to Saturday. That means being a full time employee a maximum of 48 hours a week allowed to work. Working hours may be extended to ten hours at short notice, for example due to the season or due to orders.

The situation is different if you are not yet of legal age. Then the following exceptions apply:

  • Working hours and shift work: Underage trainees are allowed to work a maximum of 40 hours per week and only Mondays to Fridays. Sectors in which shift work is an exception are an exception. Work on weekends is also permitted there. However, night shifts are not allowed.
  • Breaks and rest periods: Longer breaks apply to employees under the age of 18. If you work 4.5 hours or more, you are entitled to a break of 30 minutes. The rest period between two working days is also 12 hours. If they are used on Sundays, they are entitled to at least two free Sundays per month as compensation.

Vacation: How many days off are you entitled to?

Your vacation entitlement is also precisely regulated by law. As an adult trainee, you are entitled to at least 24 working days per year. This time should be used for recovery. Any other gainful activity is therefore not permitted.

If you are under 18 years of age, you are entitled to:

  • 25 days of vacation if you are 17 years old.
  • 27 vacation days if you are 16 years old.
  • 30 vacation days if you are younger than 16 years old.

Termination: When can your employer terminate you?

During the agreed trial period, both you and your training company may terminate the employment relationship at any time. After the trial period has expired, termination is only possible for an important reason. What is an important reason? An important reason is always given if the terminating party cannot be expected to continue the apprenticeship relationship until the end of the apprenticeship period, taking into account all the circumstances. A termination is also possible if you have determined that the desired profession is not the right one and you want to give it up. A termination is only effective if it is presented to your training company in writing and stating the reasons.

But be careful! If you would like to continue your training in the profession you have chosen and only change the training company, you should negotiate a termination agreement with your current training company instead of a termination. If you simply canceled your training and continued it in another company, your former training company can claim damages.

Checklist of trainee rights and obligations

Which tasks and work belong to the apprenticeship varies depending on the subject and the company. But it is clear that, for example Sickness representatives of employees do not belong to it. This also applies to work that is physically too difficult and poses a health risk for trainees.

Simple tasks like making coffee, tidying up the workshop or office and Errands for colleagues can be part of the training - if they do not become the rule and do not take up too much of the training. However, if the majority of the training consists of less qualified tasks and conversations with the trainer or supervisor change little or nothing, you should consider dropping out of the training or changing company.

A clear one Checklist of rights and obligations can be downloaded here as a PDF free of charge.

Trainee duties: What trainees commit themselves to

With the Signing of the training contract However, trainees also agree to the following Obligations to comply:

  • Training objective: You undertake to actively participate in the achievement of the training goals. For this purpose, you can also be required to record in a record book what you learn in your training.
  • Professional school: If you do dual training in which the vocational school is part of the training, you are obliged to take part in the lessons.
  • Instructions and occupational safety: In day-to-day work, you must adhere to the regulations in your company. These can be certain safety measures, for example, but a smoking ban is also one of them. If you do not follow the instructions of your instructor or if you violate protective measures, you will have to pay for the damage caused.
  • Care: If you receive work clothes, tools and other material from the training company, you undertake to handle them carefully.
  • Company secret: You agree not to disclose any confidential information about your company to third parties. If you are not sure which information is confidential and which information is not, talk to your instructor about it.
  • Illness: If you are ill, you must inform your employer immediately and submit a doctor's certificate from the third day of illness. Incidentally, this also applies to the vocational school.

Obligations: What is the training company committed to?

But not only you as a trainee have obligations, your training company must also meet certain obligations.

  • Your trainer is obliged to train you so that you can achieve your training goal and learn everything you need to do the job.
  • Your trainer is obliged to release you for teaching at the vocational school. This also applies to special events as part of vocational school lessons.
  • Your trainer must allow you to keep the report book during working hours. He must also not force you to give false information in it.
  • Your trainer must ensure that you are only assigned activities that serve the purpose of the training and are appropriate to your physical strength.
  • Your trainer is obliged to provide you with training materials such as tools and materials free of charge.
[Photo Credit: Kzenon by Shutterstock.com]

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January 31, 2021Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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