Written answers

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Apprenticeship Programmes

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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150. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the entitlements of a third year apprentice in respect of travel expenses in cases in which the apprentice is using their own vehicle in circumstances (details supplied). [6085/19]

Photo of Pat BreenPat Breen (Clare, Fine Gael)
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Statutory responsibility for the management of the National Apprenticeship System in Ireland falls under the remit of SOLAS, an agency under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills.

I understand that craft ?apprentices get paid during their training. The rates of pay can vary, depending on the apprenticeship and on the employer. Furthermore, a craft apprentice allowance is paid during off-the-job training.

In the context of my own Department, the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015 provides the legal basis for Sectoral Employment Orders (SEOs) which set out the terms and conditions for workers in the economic sector to which they apply. Currently, there are SEOs in place in the construction and mechanical engineering sectors. Both of these SEOs set out the terms and conditions of employment for the relevant sector and specifically set out the rates of pay applicable to apprentices in the sector.

The SEOs currently in place are based on recommendations made by the Labour Court following a statutorily prescribed process which includes a public consultation.

While I understand that consideration was given to the inclusion of provisions relating to travel in the construction SEO, as there was no consensus among the parties on the matter, the Labour Court did not recommend its inclusion in the Order. However, the Court did note that some workers in the construction sector may have had contracts of employment that provide for the payment of travel time and that these contractual arrangements should not be affected by the terms of the Court’s recommendation and should remain in place and continue to apply as before.

In the broader context of apprenticeships, the payment of travel expenses remains a contractual matter between employer and employee.

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