COVID-19 has drastically altered the way that we live and work. As you are aware, the UK Government has taken unprecedented steps to protect employers and employees affected by the virus.
Yet while it is clear how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will affect full-time employees, there have been questions about how furlough will affect apprentices.
On Sunday, the government released guidance that clarified the situation.
Many of us have become more familiar with the term “furlough” over recent weeks than we ever would have thought. Yet it is still worth clarifying what the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme entails.
“The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage.”
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme by 28 February 2020.
Furlough & Apprenticeships
What has been of interest to the training community this week is the clarification around employees in training.
As per the guidance:
“A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation.”
This means that apprenticeship training can continue even if the learner has been furloughed – as long as the training itself does not generate revenue for the learner’s employer.
It’s a clarification that should be a relief for many training providers.
If employees must complete training as part of their role whilst furloughed, they must be paid “at least the NLW/NMW for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised.”
In related news, IFATE has maintained that 31st July will still be the last date for any new starts on the outgoing SASE Frameworks.
If you have questions about apprenticeship training, furlough, and how it could impact your business, we are here to help. As an EPAO we offer Remote Assessment for a range of Standards – the ideal solution for any learners approaching the end of their training.
Get in touch today and our team will help to guide you through the evolving situation.