You may well have heard of the apprenticeship levy in recent years. However, unless you’re working in the day-to-day of apprenticeship recruitment you may not be completely clear on what it is – or how it affects your business.
In this post we’re going to break down:
- Who has to pay the apprenticeship levy?
- How do you pay?
- What are the funding bands?
This is all good stuff to know – but first, let’s take a look at what the levy actually is…
The Apprenticeship Levy explained
In April 2017 the Government implemented the apprenticeship levy, a mandatory employer tax that contributes to apprenticeship development.
Yet not all employers need to pay this tax. The apprenticeship levy is only paid by organisations with a pay bill of over £3 million each year (regardless of whether they employ any apprentices).
Levy Payers: Organisations with an annual pay bill of over £3 million
Non-Levy Payers: Organisations with an annual pay bill of less than £3 million
As you pay the levy you add to your organisation’s apprenticeship service account. You can then use the funds in this account to contribute towards the costs of training and assessing your apprentices.
What if I don’t pay the Apprenticeship Levy?
If you are a non-levy paying organisation you can still claim support via the Government’s “co-investment” scheme.
Under this scheme your organisation will pay 5% of the maximum funding band towards the cost of apprenticeship training. The government will then pay the remaining 95%. If the cost of training and assessment exceeds the funding band, you will need to cover these costs from your own budget.
This 5% payment rate applies to any new apprenticeships started on or since April 1st 2019. All apprenticeships started before April 1st 2019 will maintain the previous co-investment rate of 10%.
The apprenticeship levy only applies to English apprenticeships, and can only pay for learners who complete at least 50% of their work in England.
For funding information for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland please contact your local apprenticeship authority:
What are Funding Bands?
Each apprenticeship standard comes under a different funding band. These funding bands outline the largest amount that an employer can claim back for any given apprenticeship.
To view an up-to-date list of standards and funding band amounts please visit the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education (IfATE).
You can only use levy funds up to the maximum funding band amount to pay for a learner’s training and their assessment. Again, if these costs exceed the available funding then your business must pay the excess.
You cannot use the levy to cover costs incurred as a result of hiring an apprentice (e.g. wages, equipment, expenses).
How do I pay the Apprenticeship Levy?
Your business must pay the apprenticeship levy monthly via PAYE. This is the same way that your organisation pays Income Tax and/or National Insurance contributions. These payments are a deductible expense for Corporation Tax.
At the start of each month your organisation needs to notify HMRC of the levy value you need to pay for that month. As you make payments available funds will show in your account on the 23rd of each month.
To make your life simple, our partner organisation CQM Training & Consultancy have created a free Levy Calculator to help you out. Click here to access the Levy Calculator and find out how much you need to pay.
Making the most of the Apprenticeship Levy
When your business is paying the apprenticeship levy it makes sense to make use of the funds. With that in mind, if you’re currently planning vocational training for your organisation we would love to talk to you about End Point Assessment.
The Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have advised that employers must have an approved End Point Assessment Organisation in place at the point when their learner starts their apprenticeship training.
Our approved End Point Assessment service is designed to guide you and your learner throughout their apprenticeship. With role-based benchmarking, cutting-edge tools and real-time reporting, our EPA fits seamlessly into your workflow and gives your apprentice the experience they deserve.
We support your apprenticeship training from first day to Gateway. Get in touch to find out how.