The main purpose of the Act is to provide practical training to technically qualified persons in various trades. The objective is promotion of new skilled manpower. The scheme is also extended to engineers and diploma holders.
The Act applies to areas and industries as notified by Central government. [section 1(4)].
Obligation of Employer - Every employer is under obligation to take apprentices in prescribed ratio of the skilled workers in his employment in different trades. [section 11]. In every trade, there will be reserved places for scheduled castes and schedules tribes. [section 3A]. Ratio of trade apprentices to workers shall be determined by Central Government. Employer can engage more number of apprentices than prescribed minimum. [section 8(1)]. - - The employer has to make arrangements for practical training of apprentice [section 9(1)]. Employer will pay stipends to apprentices at prescribed rates. If the employees are less than 250, 50% of cost is shared by Government. If employer is employing more than 250 workers, he has to bear full cost of training.
WHO CAN BE APPRENTICE - Apprentice should be of minimum age of 14 years and he should satisfy the standard of education and physical fitness as prescribed. [section 3].
DURATION OF TRAINING - Duration of training period and ratio of apprentices to skilled workers for different trades has been prescribed in Apprenticeship Rules, 1991. Duration of Apprenticeship may be from 6 months to 4 years depending on the trade, as prescribed in Rules. Period of training is determined by National Council for training in Vocational Trades (established by Government of India).
CONTRACT WITH APPRENTICE - Apprentice appointed has to execute an contract of apprenticeship with employer. The contract has to be registered with Apprenticeship Adviser. If apprentice is minor, agreement should be signed by his guardian. [section 4(1)]. - - Apprentice is entitled to casual leave of 12 days, medical leave of 15 days and extraordinary leave of 10 days in a year.
Legal Position of Apprentices - An apprentice is not a workman during apprentice training. [section 18]. Provisions of labour law like Bonus, PF, ESI Act, gratuity, Industrial Disputes Act etc. are not applicable to him. However, provisions of Factories Act regarding health, safety and welfare will apply to him. Apprentice is also entitled to get compensation from employer for employment injury. [section 16].
An employer is under no obligation to employ the apprentice after completion of apprenticeship. [section 22(1)]. However, in UP State Road Transport Corpn v. UP Parivahan Nigam Shishukh Berozgar Sangh AIR 1995 SC 1114 = (1995) 2 SCC 1 , it was held that other things being equal, a trained apprentice should be given preference over direct recruits. It was also held that he need not be sponsored by the employment exchange. Age bar may also be relaxed, to the extent of training period. The concerned institute should maintain a list of persons already trained and in between trained apprentices, preference should be given to those who are senior. - same view in UP Rajya Vidyut Parishad v. State of UP 2000 LLR 869 (SC).
Stipend payable - The minimum rate of stipend payable per month is as follows - (a) Engineering graduates - Rs 1,970 p.m. for post-institutional training (b) Sandwich course students for degree examination - Rs 1,400 p.m. (c) diploma holders - Rs 1,400 p.m. for post-institutional training (d) Sandwich course students for degree examination - Rs 1,140 p.m. (e) Vocational certificate holder - Rs 1,090 p.m. [w.e.f. May 2001]
In case of 4 year training, the stipend is as follows - first year - Rs 820 pm. Second year - Rs 940 pm. Third year - Rs 1,090 pm. Fourth year - Rs 1,230 pm. [From May 2001].
Test and Proficiency certificate - On completion of training, every trade apprentice has to appear for a test conducted by National Council. If he passes, he gets a certificate of proficiency.
Apprenticeship Adviser - Government is empowered to appoint Apprenticeship Adviser, Dy Apprenticeship Adviser etc. to supervise the scheme. Various powers have been conferred on them under the Act.