Q: I am working as an apprentice clerk in a public sector company. I was appointed pursuant to a notice issued under the Apprentices Act. My contract is for a period of two years with effect from February 1, 2011. I want to know whether I am entitled to the benefits of the Provident Fund. Also, please advise me as to whether, after the expiry of my apprenticeship contract, I can get a permanent job with the company?
Ramsurt Raut, Howrah
A: A. Section 2(f) of the Employees’ Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, defines an employee as any person employed for wages in any kind of work in any establishment including any person engaged as an apprentice not being an apprentice engaged under the Apprentices Act, 1961. Going by this definition, you would not be entitled to the benefits of the Provident Fund Act. This view has been upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in a case reported in Judgments Today 2006 (2) SC 45. In regard to your second query, Section 22 of the Apprentices Act provides that it will not be obligatory for the employer to offer any employment to any apprentice who has completed his training, nor shall it be obligatory for the apprentice to accept an employment under the said employer. However, if there is a condition in your apprenticeship contract requiring you to serve the employer after completion of your training, then upon such completion, the employer will be bound to offer suitable employment to you and you will be bound to serve the employer in such capacity for such period and on such remuneration as may be specified in the contract. The period of service and/or the remuneration is subject to revision by the Apprenticeship Adviser if in his / her opinion, the offer made as it stands is not reasonable in terms of employment or is detrimental to the interests of the employee.
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