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Serious misconduct

Version 4
September 2013
Serious misconduct (PDF, 98KB)

Employers are strongly urged to phone the Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) via Apprenticeships Info on 1800 210 210 immediately if an issue of serious misconduct arises. Employers should also phone the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 to discuss the implications of serious misconduct on the apprentice or trainee's wages.

Information to get you started

Provision exists for an employer to immediately suspend and, if the employer wishes to, seek approval to cancel the training contract where the apprentice or trainee engages in serious misconduct and because of the serious misconduct; the employer decides it is unreasonable to continue training the apprentice or trainee at that time.

Note: The provision for employers to suspend and/or apply to cancel an apprentice or trainee only exists if the apprentice or trainee has engaged in serious misconduct as described in the Vocational Education, Training and Employment Act 2000 as outlined below.

Serious misconduct is defined as any or all of the following:

If the theft, assault or fraud occurs outside of work hours, it would be considered serious misconduct if it has a significant negative effect on:

Serious misconduct at work is classed as:

This provision applies to clearly defined types of behaviour and strict time frames apply for the employer to advise the apprentice or trainee, and DETE, of the suspension and/or cancellation for serious misconduct.

Step 1: Employer suspends the training contract because the apprentice/trainee has engaged in serious misconduct

If there is evidence the apprentice or trainee has engaged in serious misconduct, the employer can suspend the training contract by either:

A suspension notice, where it relates to serious misconduct, is defined as a notice that states:

The employer is encouraged to include the following in the suspension notice:

Step 2: Employer notifies DETE of the suspension for serious misconduct

Where an employer suspends a training contract for serious misconduct, they must notify DETE of the suspension (in person, via phone or email) within one working day after the suspension and also provide DETE with a copy of the suspension notice within five working days after the suspension.

Step 3: DETE confirms or refuses the suspension

Where the employer applies for cancellation of the training contract, a delegated officer of DETE will, by fair procedures, decide the application. Where suspension occurs without an application for cancellation, the DETE officer will confirm or refuse to confirm the suspension.

DETE will then provide both the employer and the apprentice or trainee with an information notice stating the reasons for its decision.

Where an employer suspends the training contract of their apprentice or trainee for serious misconduct, and the suspension notice does not state that the employer proposes to apply for cancellation of the training contract, the apprentice or trainee is taken to be 'stood down' from the apprenticeship or traineeship for:

If DETE refuses the suspension, it will notify the employer and the employer must immediately resume training the apprentice or trainee.

Reasons DETE may refuse the suspension include, the employer:

For further information

It is advisable that, before an employer takes action to suspend an apprentice or trainee for serious misconduct, they phone Apprenticeships Info on 1800 210 210 to discuss the matter. Employers should also phone the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 to discuss the implications of serious misconduct on the apprentice or trainee's wages.

Related operational procedure on the Training Queensland website:

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This page was last updated at 18-September-2013
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