Furlough


The latest Government guidance around furloughed apprentices was published in December 2020 and it agreed that you can carry on your apprenticeship training if you are put on furlough. Furlough means that there is no work to do or the business you work for is unable to operate due to Covid-19.  Your employer and your training provider must agree that you can continue your off-the-job training at home to carry on with your apprenticeship.  

 

The furlough or ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ where the Government pays 80% of your salary up to a cap of £2,500 a month is due to finish at the end of April 2021.  

 

There are some rules to adhere to while on furlough, and it is very important that you do not do any work for your employer. You can do volunteer work, apprenticeship off-the-job training and apprenticeship progress reviews. It is important that you only discuss the progress of your apprenticeship without taking part in any work, which includes listening in on work meetings.

 

You can use work equipment such as a laptop or phone if they are needed to complete your apprenticeship training.  

 

If you are due for your EPA, it must be conducted remotely wherever possible, although it can take place face-to-face if it is absolutely necessary. Providers can access guidance for the delivery of both remote and on-site EPAs.

If you have been “furloughed” by your employer, it means that there is no work available for you to complete for a minimum of three weeks. Furloughed apprentices can continue with their apprenticeship training, providing that it does not generate income or provide services to their employer. We suggest that you speak to your training provider about what apprenticeship training you can complete whilst you’re not working. This may include doing your portfolio, preparing for exams or end-point assessments.

Make sure you have this conversation with them as soon as possible so you can make the most use of this time. Although COVID 19 has caused disruption to planned learning activities, many training providers have back-up plans in place to continue with your learning remotely, meaning that a break in learning may not be required.
No, unfortunately not. Government guidance (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) is clear on this. If you’ve been furloughed, then you can’t undertake any work for your employer otherwise they will not be able to access the government’s scheme and reclaim what they pay you. However, you can still do your “off the job” apprenticeship training – please see the section on working at home above.
Furloughing must be for a minimum period of 3 consecutive weeks to qualify under the scheme. Your employer will probably ask to furlough you initially to the end of May which is the current length of the scheme.
Your employer will pay you 80% of your normal gross pay or £2,500 per month gross, whichever is the lower. The government scheme is due to run to the end of May 2020 but may be extended. It has been put in place to try and reduce businesses making employees redundant.

Apprentices must be paid at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage as appropriate for all the time that is spent training. This means that your employer must cover any shortfall between the amount that they can claim for you and your appropriate minimum wage.
“Furlough” means a temporary leave of absence from work due to lack of work because of COVID 19. You will remain employed during this period. It isn’t a decision an employer will take lightly; it will be based on the amount of work coming in and whether there is work for you to do, or not. Your employer will need to seek your consent to furlough you. You will remain employed, but you will not be allowed to carry out any work for your employer.
Under the rules of the government scheme, if you’re furloughed by your employer you cannot undertake any work either for them, or on their behalf. Whilst this doesn’t prevent you getting another job with a different employer, you must talk to your employer and the potential new employer to make sure you are not creating a conflict or breaching any employment rules or government guidance in line with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Also, even if money is tight, make sure you’re mindful of your work-life balance.
For additional information on the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme please look at HMRC’s guidance.