In India, the Apprenticeship Act, 1961 (“Act”) is the primary legislation which regulates the engagement of apprentices by organisations. Under the Act, the term apprentice has been broadly defined to mean and include any person who is undergoing an apprenticeship training with an organisation in pursuance of a contract of apprenticeship. The Act also prescribes different kinds of apprentices that an organisation may engage.
The Government of India, via a notification dated 25 September 2019, has amended certain provisions of the Apprenticeship Rules, 1992 (“Amended Rules”), bringing in certain substantial changes to the law regulating apprentices in India. A few of the key changes brought in by the Amended Rules are as follows:
- The Amended Rules specify that only employers employing 4 (four) or more workers shall be eligible to engage apprentices in its establishment. Further, the Amended Rules also state that for organisations engaging 30 (thirty) or more workers, it is mandatory for them to engage apprentices.
- The Amended Rules prescribe the revised monthly stipend that is payable to the different kinds of apprentices.
- The Amended Rules specifically state that an apprentice shall not be considered a worker. Further, the Amended Rules also state that the laws pertaining to labour shall not apply to an apprentice.
- The Amended Rules state that within a financial year, each establishment shall engage apprentices in a band of 2.5 percent to 15 percent of the total strength of the establishment including contractual staff, subject to a minimum of 5 percent of the total to be reserved for newer apprentices and skill certificate holder apprentices. Furthermore, the number of apprentices should not be less than 2 percent of the total strength of the establishment and more than 18 percent of the total strength of the establishment, in any given month, subject to the condition that he/she shall fulfill apprentice months corresponding to the minimum 2.5 percent obligation in a financial year.