Staff who are furloughed are deemed to be not working. Therefore the increase in national minimum wage will not affect them while on furlough, as the furlough grant is based on past earnings.  However when these staff return to the workforce they will have to be paid by you as their employer at the new national minimum wage level as required.

There is one grey area that recent updates to the guidance have set out.  When an employee is furloughed but carries out training that is part of their apprenticeship while on furlough employers must pay their Apprentices at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage (AMW/NLW/NMW) as appropriate for all the time they spend training. 

In short this means that for days that the employee is in training you as the employer must cover any shortfall between the amount you can claim for the employees wages through the Job Retention Scheme and their appropriate minimum wage. A small but additional cost to consider over the coming months.

We have details about the announcement and updated guidance below.  If these rules cause concern or confusion contact Donna, our HR Manager, on 01474 853 856 or email donna.bygrave@a4g-llp.co.uk as she has looked into all these rules and how the apply for A4G.

Government guidelines

This is a difficult time for apprentices, employers and providers of apprenticeship training, assessment and external assurance. The government is committed to supporting apprentices, and employers continue to build the skills capabilities the country needs now and in the future.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is responding by taking steps to ensure that, wherever possible, apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship, despite any break they need to take as a result of COVID-19, and to support providers during this challenging time.

The support that is being provided includes:

  • introducing flexibilities to allow furloughed apprentices to continue their training as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for their employer
  • encouraging training providers to deliver training to apprentices remotely, and via e-learning, as far as is practicable
  • allowing the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments wherever practicable and possible in order to maintain progress and achievement for apprentices
  • clarifying that apprentices ready for assessment, but who cannot be assessed due to COVID-19 issues, can have their end-point assessment rescheduled
  • apprentices whose gateway is delayed can have an extension to the assessment time frame
  • enabling employers and training providers to report and initiate a break in learning, where the interruption to learning due to COVID-19 is greater than 4 weeks
  • clarification on how to record breaks in learning so that funding is not unnecessarily disrupted
  • confirming that, where apprentices are made redundant, it is our ambition to find them alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks

However, employers must pay their Apprentices at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage (AMW/NLW/NMW) as appropriate for all the time they spend training. This means employers must cover any shortfall between the amount they can claim for their wages through the Job Retention Scheme and their appropriate minimum wage.

Contact me today!

Donna Bygrave

Personnel Manager

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