Furloughed apprentices

ApprenticeThis article sits within the Apprentice section

If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

You can carry on with your apprenticeship training if your employer puts you on furlough. Both your training provider and employer must agree that you can continue your off-the-job training from home.

You’ll need to take a break from your apprenticeship if you’re on:

  • furlough and not continuing with your apprenticeship training
  • unpaid leave (not furloughed)

How the government is supporting you

The government set up the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme that lets your employer claim up a percentage of your monthly wages if you’re furloughed. Until August, they can also claim your National Insurance contributions and the minimum employer pension contributions on your wage.

On 17 December 2020 the Chancellor announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was being extended until the end of April 2021.  The level of the grant will mirror levels available under the CJRS in August, so the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions only for the hours the employee does not work. 


What you can do when you’re furloughed

Any work or training that you do must not provide services that generate revenue for your employer. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme lets you take part in:

  • volunteer work
  • training (including apprenticeship off-the-job training)
  • progress reviews with your employer, as long as you only discuss the progress of your apprenticeship

You may agree with your employer and training provider to complete more off-the-job training than normal during the coronavirus outbreak.

You cannot listen in to work meetings if you’re furloughed, even if you do not take part. Your employer should contact the HMRC helpline if they’re not sure what you can do when you’re furloughed.

Work equipment

You can use your work equipment (including laptop) to complete your off-the-job apprenticeship training, as long as you do not carry out normal work.


If you’re furloughed, your employer will still pay you and you’ll pay tax on your income.

You’re entitled to at least the National Minimum Wage for apprentices, for any time you spend in apprenticeship training.

Find out more about your rights and entitlements from Acas.



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