Apprentice awarded £25,000 compensation following redundancy

An apprentice who was made redundant two years before his apprenticeship was due to be completed has been awarded £25,000 compensation for loss of earnings.

Daniel Kinnear was employed as an apprentice roof tiler under a four-year apprenticeship contract from October 2014.

In June 2016, the employer terminated his apprenticeship for redundancy reasons. At the termination date, his net weekly wage was £198.50, and 122 weeks of his apprenticeship remained outstanding.

After unsuccessfully appealing the dismissal, Mr Kinnear attempted to obtain another apprenticeship in the construction industry but was unable to do so.

He brought a claim to the Employment Tribunal for compensation for loss of earnings against the employer, Marley Eternit Ltd.

While proceedings were taking place, he obtained work through agencies, and by the date of the tribunal hearing had earned £1,389.

The tribunal found that the employer had breached its contract with Mr Kinnear. His dismissal meant it was unlikely that he would be able to finish his apprenticeship and gain a qualification as a roofer because he was over 21, and employers would have to pay him a higher rate of the minimum wage than if he were 20 or under.

Based on his weekly wage and the length of time left to run on his contract, he would have earned £24,217 during the remainder of his apprenticeship.

As an apprentice, he was entitled to be trained and employed until the end of his contract. However, the employer had paid no heed to his status in the company.

In view of the economic downturn and Mr Kinnear’s age, it was unlikely that he would be able to find an employer to take him to finish the apprenticeship. That was partly because his apprenticeship was tailored to the type of products used by the employer.

He was disadvantaged in the labour market by not having his roofing qualification. Therefore, even if he could obtain employment in the construction industry, it would not be at the higher rate of pay that a qualified tradesman would command.

The tribunal awarded him £25,000, the maximum figure possible for this kind of case.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.

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