HMRC said “Apprentices can continue with funded training when employers use the job retention scheme, subject to being paid the apprenticeship minimum wage for all the time they spend training.”
We are still conducting regular progress review meetings with apprentices online and encouraging apprentices to make the most of any additional time they find they may have by applying themselves to their programme of study – this includes online curriculum training delivery, self-study, exams, project work, EPA, Synoptics, reviews etc.
All training apprentices undertake when furloughed will count towards their 20% OTJ training requirement. So the more apprentices complete whilst furloughed, the less they will have to do on their return to FT employment.
The government released guidance specifically relating to apprenticeships. We wanted to make sure you are aware of this to hopefully provide reassurance to both you and your apprentice.
The following link provides good advice around some frequently asked questions relating to employment rights and support available for both you and your apprentice.
We have also highlighted four of the most common FAQs from the guidance below
Q.Should employers use the ‘Stop’ or ‘Pause’ apprentice facility in the apprenticeship service?
A. In circumstances related to COVID-19, employers should use the ‘Pause’ function in the service. Employers must only use the ‘Stop’ function when they are certain that training will not resume at any point. Using ‘Pause’ will stop payments temporarily and allow the employer and apprentice to resume the apprenticeship at a later date. We are reviewing options to simplify the process of re-starting apprentices on the service, including to facilitate a transfer to a different apprenticeship or employer in due course.
Q. My employer is asking me to take a period of unpaid leave, what happens to my apprenticeship during that time?
A. Where you are no longer able to work, but have not been made redundant, you can take a break from your apprenticeship and resume when you return to work. Please get in touch with your training provider who will inform us of a break in learning. Once you are back at work, you can resume your apprenticeship, which your training provider can help with too. You should refer any queries around terms and conditions, including wages, to your employer in the first instance. The ACAS website may also be a good source of information.
Q. What happens to the apprentice during a period of unpaid leave in terms of monies?
A. Universal Credit may be available for both workers and the unemployed alike, as long as they meet the other conditions of entitlement (including that the applicant and their partner have savings of under £16,000 between them). Apprentices may be entitled to access Universal Credit during a period of unpaid leave. They may also have access to Universal Credit even if they were working and being paid. Being laid off or on a lesser number of hours could also increase the rate of Universal Credit entitlement. Apprentices on unpaid leave may also be eligible for other benefits – https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits
Through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will reimburse 80% of a furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
Q. If I can’t work/attend training, will I still be paid?
A. An apprenticeship is a job with training, so even when you are not able to do your training, you are still employed. You will be paid in line with the details in your employment contract. If you’ve got concerns, please speak to your manager and to your Pathway Planner.
Where you are unable to work, we suggest speaking to your employer about their polices on pay. The government is providing a range of support to employers to help them retain and pay the wages of employees (including apprentices) during the coming months.
Need to get in touch with us
As soon as we have information from the government that the threat has been downgraded, we will continue our normal blend of face to face meetings and interactive online training.
Meanwhile, we hope you stay safe and healthy and find the information provided here useful.
If you do have any queries please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively please contact 0121 262 4117 (Birmingham Office) or 02392 449730 (Havant Office).