Extending or terminating an apprenticeship contract

Last update 24.08.2021

An apprenticeship is a form of vocational training which includes:

  • periods of in-school training to acquire specific knowledge related to trades and professions;
  • periods of practical training, in a professional environment under a supervisor (organised under an apprenticeship contract) provided by a training institution, to enable the apprentice to acquire the key skills of a particular trade or profession.

The apprenticeship contract gives learners the foundations they need to earn the technician's diploma (DT), vocational aptitude diploma (DAP) or vocational capacity certificate (CCP).

There are 2 forms of apprenticeships:

  • the initial apprenticeship, for minors aged 15 years and over;
  • the apprenticeship for adults, to enable adult learners to acquire, complete or complement professional training through the work-study apprenticeship system.

As part of the initial apprenticeship, the apprentice is paid a monthly minimum apprenticeship allowance by the training institution. In the context of apprenticeship for adults, the apprentice is paid the social minimum wage by the host employer.

Apprentices' vocational training is provided by mentors.

Apprentices enjoy the following benefits:

  • protection of young workers;
  • health and safety at work;
  • occupational health;
  • protection of employees who are pregnant, breastfeeding or who have recently given birth;
  • protection against dismissal in the event of sick leave;
  • annual leave.

Who is concerned

Requests to extend apprenticeship contracts may be made by:

  • training institutions; or
  • apprentices or their legal representative, if they are a minor.

Requests to terminate apprenticeship contracts may be made by:

  • training institutions; or
  • apprentices or their legal representative, if they are a minor; or
  • the competent professional chambers.

How to proceed

Duration of the apprenticeship contract

The scheduled duration of the apprenticeship contract is the actual duration of the apprenticeship and training, i.e. 3 years.

Exemptions may be granted under certain conditions by the competent consultative commission, but under no circumstances may the apprenticeship be shorter than one year.

Extension of the apprenticeship contract

The training may be extended by one year.

If the apprentice fails the final integrated project, it may be extended by one additional year.

Apart from this case, the apprenticeship contract may be extended at the request of one of the contracting parties. The request should be sent to:

  • the chamber it is associated with: the decision will be taken by the competent professional chambers;
  • the Minister responsible for apprenticeships, if the training is not attached to an Employers' Professional Chamber (chambre professionnelle patronale): the decision is taken by the Minister in conjunction with the competent Chamber of Employees (chambre salariale).

The training institution or apprentice must send:

  • a written and substantiated request:
    • to the professional chamber it is associated with, or to the Minister, as applicable;
    • no later than 2 months before the end of the scheduled duration of the training;
  • a copy:
    • to the other signatory to the contract;
    • to the other professional chamber concerned.

The relevant Employers' Professional Chamber or the Minister, as applicable, will send:

  • the decision to the applicant in writing;
  • within one month of receiving the request;
  • a copy of the decision to the training institution and to Career Guidance Department of the National Employment Agency (Service d'Orientation de l'Administration de l'Emploi).

If the request is approved, the apprenticeship contract will be renewed for the period granted. If the application is denied, the apprenticeship will end on the scheduled end date of the training.

Suspension of the apprenticeship contract

The apprenticeship contract will be suspended and extended if the apprentice is absent for a prolonged period of time due to:

End of the apprenticeship contract

The apprenticeship contract ends:

  • if the apprentice successfully completes the training;
  • in case of force majeure;
  • if it is terminated by one of the parties (see below);
  • if the parties to the contract mutually agree to end it;
  • if the employers' association decides to end the contract, when:
    • the apprentice or training institution has breached the terms of the contract; or
    • the apprentice is not sufficiently fit for the chosen profession or trade;
  • if the training institution ceases its activities, or if it loses its accreditation as a host institution authorised to train apprentices;
  • if the apprentice fails to report for duty for 24 consecutive working days without a valid reason;
  • if the apprentice's right to sickness benefits has expired;
  • if the maximum duration of the training period has been reached.

The end of the contract is noted by the Employers' Professional Chamber, which will notify all of the contracting parties.

Unilateral termination of the apprenticeship contract

The apprenticeship contract may be terminated in the following situations:

  • a serious or repeated infringement of the provisions of the contract; or
  • if one of the parties is facing criminal charges; or
  • if, upon completion of the trial period, the apprentice is unable to acquire the skills needed for the trade or profession; or
  • due to health reasons, as attested to by a physician: if the apprentice is no longer fit to exercise the trade or profession in question; or
  • irreparable loss of one party's trust in the other; or
  • danger to the physical or psychological integrity of one of the contracting parties.
Any arbitrary termination of the apprenticeship contract will entitle the aggrieved party to damages set by the labour tribunal.

If the apprentice changes to a different training institution, the apprenticeship period completed in the previous institution, for the same trade or profession, is counted.

During the trial period, the training institution and the apprentice may terminate the apprenticeship contract:

  • unilaterally;
  • without specifying a reason;
  • without notice.

The prior approval of the competent professional chambers is required for all unilateral terminations of the apprenticeship contract.

The apprenticeship contract can be terminated with 15 days' notice if it has been established that the apprentice is unable to acquire the skills needed for the trade or profession.

The party that wishes to terminate the apprenticeship contract must send a written termination request:

  • to the apprentice's apprenticeship adviser;
  • that states the precise reasons for the termination: supporting documents may be attached.

The apprenticeship adviser will then notify the other contracting party and ask it to send them a written response stating its position within 8 days:

  • if no response is provided: the contract is declared terminated by mutual consent;
  • in the event of a dispute: the competent professional chambers will decide to:
    • either organise a mediation meeting:
      • if mediation is successful: an agreement is reached on the termination or continuation of the apprenticeship contract; or
      • if mediation fails: the case will be brought before the disputes board;
    • or bring the case directly before the disputes board.

The mission of the disputes board is to:

  • reconcile the parties, if possible;
  • issue a written opinion to the parties:
    • either giving its written consent to the termination of the apprenticeship contract: in this case, the terminating party must send a letter of termination by registered mail to the other party;
    • or withholding its consent to the termination of the apprenticeship contract: each party is free to bring the case before the labour tribunal.

The board's opinion is communicated to the contracting parties by registered mail by the competent professional chamber or by the Minister, as applicable.

Termination of the apprenticeship contract by the Employers' Professional Chamber, or the Minister

The Employers' Professional Chamber may also terminate the contract, with the Chamber of Employees' approval, in the cases where:

  • the apprentice or host company is clearly in breach of the contract; or
  • it is noted, during the intermediate integrated project, which takes place in the middle of the apprenticeship period, that the apprentice lacks the necessary skills for the chosen trade or profession.

The termination of the contract by the professional chamber or the Minister is confirmed in a registered letter stating the reasons for the termination, sent to the apprentice and the host company.

The Chamber of Employees' written approval is required. The approval can be submitted by electronic means.

The apprenticeship contract ends on the date of notification of the termination letter.

When the apprentice is unable to acquire the skills needed for the trade or profession, 15 days' notice must be given when terminating the contract.

Effective date of the termination

The contract ends:

  • on the last day of the month in which notice is given:
    • of the apprentice's successful completion of the apprenticeship; or
    • of the decision, to the 2 contracting parties, in the event of:
      • successful completion; or
      • redeployment; or
      • dismissal of the apprentice from the training, by a decision of the class council; or
  • on the date of notification of the termination letter; or
  • if, on completion of the trial period, it is established that the apprentice is unable to acquire the skills required for the trade or profession: upon expiry of the 15-day notice period.

De-registration of the apprentice

When the apprentice leaves the business, the training institution must:

  • de-register the apprentice from the Joint Social Security Centre (Centre commun de la sécurité sociale - CCSS);
  • for that purpose, complete the declaration of end of employment for employees form.

Forms / Online services

Déclaration de sortie - salariés

Formulaire disponible sur le site du CCSS

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