The Government has announced further guidance on how apprenticeship schemes will continue during the Coronavirus crisis and how apprentices should be treated. There had originally been some concern that apprentices would not be included in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, or that their training would come to a close.
Helpfully for many businesses, the Government has confirmed that they will not be pausing apprenticeship levy payments for employers. Businesses should continue to receive levy payments in the usual way.
Apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as any other employee, bearing in mind that any continuing training or work must not provide services to or generate revenue for the employer.
Whilst apprentices are working, they are entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for apprentices. New rates for 2020/21 came into effect on 1 April – see our recent news post on statutory rates for more details.
Apprentices can continue their training during any period of furlough leave, provided this is not generating any income for nor providing a service to their employer. This means in practice that training should relate to coursework or projects required by the course provider, rather than an apprentice’s usual day to day tasks (which an employer might normally consider as training).
The Government is promoting the use of remote training and assessment of apprentices as far as possible, rather than classroom based training. If any assessments are or were due to be completed whilst the Government’s restrictions on movement are in place, training providers have been advised to provide extensions for those assessments.
If an apprentice finds themselves in the difficult position of being made redundant or placed on unpaid leave, the Government guidance indicates that there is an obligation on the training provider to assist the apprentice in finding alternative employment. This would be applicable in particular where the apprentice’s training cannot continue whilst on unpaid leave.
Whether you are an apprentice or an employer, if you need further advice about apprenticeships then please contact us today to speak to a member of our expert employment law team.
The Backhouse Solicitors Team
Tel: 01245 893400
Visit: 17 Duke Street, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1JU
Or send us a message through the Contact Us page on this website