Recruitment, apprenticeship entry conditions, conclusion of the contract, remuneration… the apprenticeship contract differs from the traditional employment contract! How to welcome an apprentice into your company?

Stéphane ALLIGNE, entrepreneur and CEO of DOTNET, the BtoB SaaS software publisher with 100,000 professional users, sheds some light on the subject.

Stéphane ALLIGNE: To put it simply, apprenticeship is work-study training allowing you to acquire knowledge and implement it in a company. The apprentice alternates training time in a CFA (apprentice training center) with practice time in a company.

When in training, the apprentice follows the lessons necessary to prepare for the planned diploma.

In business, his activities must allow him to supplement theoretical teaching with the acquisition of practical skills. The company is responsible for transmitting to its apprentice knowledge and know-how related to the diploma prepared.

The person responsible for supporting the young person is the apprentice master. He must be appointed within the company, because he is the one who is in contact with the CFA throughout the duration of the apprenticeship contract.

SA: Recruiting an apprentice means above all being able to train a young professional in your working methods, passing on your know-how as well as the culture of your company. Immersed in your business, he can adapt to your organization and integrate easily.

This is a very good way to recruit your employees of tomorrow. Many apprenticeship contracts also lead to permanent employment after graduation. You know your employee, and he knows the company well.

There is also something of the order of transmission. We feel a certain pride in training a young person, in passing on know-how, in helping them acquire the necessary skills, in seeing them evolve and become independent.

In return, the apprentice also brings you the knowledge he acquires in CFA, which may be different from what is usually applied in your company. These young people can bring you another vision, suggestions for tools, new methods, etc.

SA: Absolutely!

The State encourages the recruitment of apprentices through substantial aid.

Currently, and for apprenticeship contracts concluded until December 31, 2023, employers can benefit from hiring assistance in the amount of €6,000. For SMEs with fewer than 250 employees, this aid is paid unconditionally. On the other hand, larger companies must make recruitment commitments (for example 3% of apprentices and professional contracts) to benefit from it.

In addition, employers benefit from exemption from social security contributions on apprenticeship contracts. Please note, these exemptions are limited to 79% of the minimum wage. Thus, the portion of remuneration beyond €1,380 (in 2023) is subject to contributions.

Also note that apprentices are exempt from income tax up to the annual minimum wage.

To benefit from aid, you must conclude an apprenticeship contract, then declare it during the first DSN (Nominative Social Declaration) after the first pay slip issued by the employer. It’s quite simple and completely automated by the Services and Payment Agency (ASP Public).

SA: Both schemes are alternating contracts, but their objective is a little different.

In fact, the professional contract mainly aims at the professional integration or return to employment of beneficiaries, who must meet specific conditions. The apprenticeship contract is concluded as part of the young person’s training.

As a result, there are differences in the duration of the contract, the nature of the contract, the age and the remuneration of the beneficiary. For example, the professionalization contract can be concluded on a fixed-term or permanent contract, while the apprenticeship contract is a specific contract.

SA: The first step is to define your need carefully! You must precisely identify the contours of the position in order to know what you will expect from your apprentice. The ideal, before embarking on recruitment, is to determine the exact title of the position, determine the position of the apprentice in the organization chart of the company (department, team, manager, establishment, etc.), his main missions, the place where he will work or even his remuneration.

Doing this work upstream will facilitate the apprentice’s integration into the company and help them become operational more quickly.

Once you have clearly defined your needs, you must carefully choose the training and the training organization (CFA). This is an essential point in any apprentice recruitment. First of all, the training followed by the apprentice must best correspond to the position you wish to offer.

Then, contact with the CFA is important. Indeed, if the first recruitment is successful, a real partnership can be formed with the organization. It is a recruitment lever that can be very effective. A real plus, especially in professions under pressure!

Finally, we prepare to welcome the apprentice into the premises. The onboarding (or integration) stage is an integral part of the recruitment process which does not end with signing the contract! You can provide a welcome kit with all the useful information (presentation of the company, organization chart, social benefits, etc.), a one-day arrival seminar, a visit to the premises with presentation to the different teams. Everything that can allow the apprentice, sometimes very young, to feel integrated as quickly as possible!

The selected apprentice master must be present to accompany the apprentice upon his arrival.

In addition, before the apprentice arrives at your premises, make sure you are aware of the pay specifics of apprenticeship contracts.

SA: Unlike a traditional employment contract signed between the new hire and the employer, the apprenticeship contract is a tripartite contract. It must be concluded between the apprentice, the employer and the Apprentice Training Center (CFA). The apprenticeship contract is a specific model, you do not have to write it yourself. This is a Cerfa form (form N°10103*10).

Then, the calculation of the apprentice’s remuneration is specific. It depends cumulatively on the age category to which the apprentice belongs, the year of execution of the contract and the hourly minimum wage of the current year. The salary ranges of an apprentice are divided into categories according to the age of the employee. For example, if you recruit a 19-year-old in the 2nd year of an apprenticeship, his salary must correspond to 51% of the current monthly minimum wage. On the other hand, if this same 19-year-old is in the 3rd year of an apprenticeship contract, his remuneration must correspond to 67% of the amount of the minimum wage in force.

Finally, be aware that there is an age limit for concluding an apprenticeship contract: at least 29 years old. Beyond that, it is impossible to conclude an apprenticeship contract except in a few situations provided for by law: apprentices recognized as disabled workers, apprentices receiving an aid scheme such as Acre in order to take over or create a business, etc.

For more information on the payroll specificities of an apprenticeship contract, an apprenticeship section is available in the online help of the site.

The success of learning, aided by government measures, cannot be denied. In 2022, 837,000 new apprenticeship contracts were signed during the year.