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.
From 31 October 2020, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be replaced with the Job Retention Bonus scheme (JRBS). The JRBS will provide your employer with a £1000 payment for every furloughed employee that returns to work and remains employed until the end of January 2021.
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.
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.