If your business cannot cover staff costs due to COVID-19, you may be able to access government support to pay employee wages, to avoid redundancies.
If your business chooses to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you will be able to classify employees as a furloughed worker. This would mean that employees are kept on the payroll, rather than being laid off. To qualify for this scheme, furloughed employees should not undertake work for the employer for the duration of the furlough. This will allow your business to claim a grant of up to 80% of employee wages for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Staff will remain employed while furloughed. Employers are able to choose to fund the differences between this payment and employee salary but do not have to.
The good news for your furloughed apprentices is that all of our training programmes include distance learning options and our team of tutors is standing by, ready to support learners via interactive video sessions and webinars. Therefore, in most cases, a break in learning is not be required and your apprentice can continue to learn and develop even while furloughed meaning that they return to work better equipped than when they left.
If an employee’s salary is reduced as a result of these changes, they may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit.
Continuing Your Modern Apprenticeship
Although you are unable to work while on furlough, the government has confirmed you are able to progress with your learning:
“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 the employer. Training in this context includes apprenticeship off-the-job training.
Where their provider can continue to deliver training remotely, a furloughed apprentice can therefore continue their apprenticeship whilst furloughed.”
As your Modern Apprenticeship is digital you can continue to make progress if you have a tablet, computer, or even a smartphone and internet connection. While each learner will be considered individually, we will endeavor to work with you so as to avoid any breaks in learning, and in most cases, it should be entirely possible for you to continue to progress through your award, even while on leave or furlough.
Apprentice Wellness Programme
We would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of Sixth Sense’s ‘Apprentice Wellness Programme’. This is a free service available to all apprentices which provides access to unlimited telephone counseling and up to six 1-2-1 sessions with a professional counselor.
Please contact your assessor for more instructions on accessing this service.