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Jill Headford

Posted 30 September 2014
by Jill Headford

Working pupils are not apprentices

Apprentices are entitled to a lower National Minimum Wage (NMW) than other employees. Many equestrian employers have paid their working pupils at the lower, apprentice rate. However, the courts have said that a working pupil will only be an apprentice if:

  • the principal aim of the arrangement is training – the emphasis being not on “working” but on “pupil”,
  • the contract is for a fixed duration and
  • the arrangement can only be terminated if something happens which fundamentally undermines the ability to teach the working pupil.

Most equestrian working pupils are there to do a job and the training is incidental. They are entitled to the full rate of NMW. And worth every penny.

For advice on buying and selling horses contact Jill Headford on 01392 667688 or email

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About the author

Jill Headford

Jill Headford

Partner and Solicitor

A partner in the firm since 1994 and an experienced Court and Tribunal advocate, Jill specialises in resolving disputes and is a member of the Property Litigation Association