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COVID 19 – Employer/Apprentice Information

Page reviewed; 23rd July 2020

For the latest college wide updates please see our news page or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Government kickstart scheme – Apprenticeship Incentive payments
The Government has announced extra incentive payments for businesses who hire an apprentice between 1st August 2020 and 31st January 2021. .
These payments are in addition to the existing apprentice employer grant of £1,000 for 16-18 year old apprentices or apprentices 19-24 years old with an Education Health & Care plan.
For apprentices aged 16-24 the payment will be £2,000, and for apprentices aged 25 or over the payment will be £1,500. The payment will be made directly to employers in two equal instalments, where the apprentice is still in learning at day 90 and day 365. The apprentice cannot have been employed by the business in the 6 months prior to the apprenticeship. Although there is no limit to the number of apprentices a business can hire, and therefore claim incentive payments for, the business must ensure they have enough duties for all apprentices they employ and have time to offer training and supervision in the workplace.
Please note; if you employ a young person on the Kickstart scheme in order to claim the wage rebate they cannot start an apprenticeship whilst on this scheme. Further, you are not able to claim the wages of an apprentice under the kickstart scheme. However, if your business is able to claim the full £3,000 incentive payments and grants for your apprentice the amount would cover the minimum wage for around 6 months.
If you have any questions please email feapprenticeships@blc.ac.uk, if you would prefer a callback please ensure you include a phone number.
Returning to work

Recently, new ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidelines have been made available to UK employers to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible. The new guidance, published on 11 May, covers 8 workplace settings which are allowed to be open.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement setting out the steps to restart the economy, we understand that some apprentices may be returning to work and able to continue or restart their training in the workplace.

To ensure that we are supporting as many apprentices to continue their apprenticeship as possible, new arrangements will be supported alongside existing flexibility about where apprenticeship training is delivered. Remote training will remain the predominant mode of learning for most apprentices during this time. However, where possible and safe to do, apprenticeship training can be delivered in the workplace where the apprentice is a critical worker or is returning to work, where that workplace meets new ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidelines on ensuring the workplace is safe.

How training is delivered is likely to depend on the circumstances of individual apprentices and their employer, we are committed to making the best possible arrangements in partnership withe all concerned.

Please let your assessor know of your business reopening as soon as possible or email feapprenticeships@blc.ac.uk

Furloughed Workers – Coronavirus Job Retention scheme

We are committed to supporting businesses as much as possible. An apprentice is an employee so you will need follow UK employment law and guidelines. Please ensure trading circumstances are communicated clearly to all staff, use group messaging services or emails rather than relying on others to pass the message on.

We appreciate that not all businesses are opening and some apprentices remain furloughed, we will continue to support these apprentices through remote learning. If you have any concerns please do contact your assessor or email feapprenticeships@blc.ac.uk 

Business Financial Support

If you have not already accessed the Governments £330 billion package of support for businesses there may still be the opportunity to do so.

The full details of the package can be found here:

Government COVID-19 Support for businesses

To help businesses know what support they could get and link to it the government has launched the Coronavirus Business Support Finder. By answering simple questions you will be shown what support you are entitled to. This can be found HERE.

Local Councils will be administering the rate reliefs available to businesses, the retail, hospitality and leisure grants and small business grants. To find out what you need to do to access these grants please follow the below link to your local council:

Small Business rate relief & Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant – Staffordshire Moorlands 

Business Financial Support – High Peak

Support for Business – Derbyshire Dales 

Emergency Support, Grants and Business rates relief – Cheshire East 

Business Grant payments – Stoke on Trent

D2N2 (Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Growth Hub) Advice Page

Derbyshire County Council have paused applications for their small business emergency relief fund, this is a £500 grant to business of 9 or less employees, and are working hard to process existing applications. We are in contact with the council applications team, if you would like to be notified should applications reopen please email feapprenticeships@blc.ac.uk

Further to the above Facebook have launched a small business grants programme and Google are offering Google Ad Credits.

You may also claim the Business Interruption Loan, for more information please visit the British Business Bank webpage. 

You can also request extended payment terms from creditors or payment deferrals.

If you are due an apprenticeship incentive payment we endeavour to make payments as quickly as possible, we are contacting businesses who are due payment directly.

Levy payments

Levy-paying employers do not need to make any changes to their digital account service, you may ‘pause’ payments if you so wish but this is not necessary as entering apprentices into a break in learning will automatically pause payments.

Useful links

ACAS have clear and practical information about self-isolation, sick pay, social distancing, flexible working, working from home and closing your business:

https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

The British Chamber of Commerce have a dedicated page with official guidance, support available from the UK Government for businesses and a useful toolkit:

https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/

You can also search for your local Chamber of Commerce for direct, local, support.

 

Information for Apprentices

FOR CURRENT BLC APPRENTICES YOUR INITIAL CONTACT FOR INFORMATION WILL BE YOUR TUTOR/ASSESSOR.

The latest video update for all BLC Students, including Apprentices, from our Principal Len Tildsley can be found HERE. This covers topics such as apprenticeship recruitment, UCAS, Careers and has Key messages for students.

 

If you have any specific concerns relating to COVID-19 as a student, parent/carer, please contact us via our dedicated email address – phconcerns@blc.ac.uk

If you are concerned that your employer is not following Government guidelines and/or employment law or have specific concerns about your apprenticeship please contact your assessor or email feapprenticeships@blc.ac.uk and we will respond as soon as possible.

FAQ’s: 

If I need to self-isolate, what will happen to my apprenticeship?

If you need to isolate or are ill please make sure you inform the college and your employer. You are able to take a break in learning, if required, to ensure you can take the time you need to regain your health.

My employer is enforcing a work from home policy and my classroom provision has been withdrawn. What are my options?

Buxton & Leek College are now delivering learning through online platforms such as SmartAssessor, you should make contact with your assessor if you have not already done so. Some students are being allowed back to campus based on their individual circumstances, you should only attend campus if you have been invited to do so, we do need to maintain social distancing and limit numbers of persons on campus.

If I am furloughed can I work?

You are still an employee and effectively being paid not to work, you should not undertake any work for the employer who has furloughed you. The minimum you will receive is 80% of your salary or wages, if your pay varies the 80% limit will be taken from the same months earnings last year, average monthly earnings for the previous tax year (19/20) or the average monthly earnings since you started working for your employer – whichever is available and/or the highest.

You are able to work for another employer whilst being furloughed but the hours you work must not be the same times as the job you have been furloughed from because you are still employed for these hours and your employer is effectively paying you to stay at home during your normal working hours. For example if you normally work 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday you could get a temporary weekend and/or evening job. It is important to note that your tax free earning allowance will stay will your original job, that you are furloughed from, so you will be taxed on all of your earnings from a second job.

If you intend to find alternative employment during the time your employer is not trading it may be simpler to ask your employer for a temporary unpaid lay-off. You should request this in writing so that the employer has a record of your request, you should also receive a response from your employer in writing.

Whilst you are furloughed you can still work towards your apprenticeship, your assessor and Maths & English tutors will be setting work for you. Please make contact with your assessors/tutors if you have not already done so.

My employer is laying me off/making me redundant. What happens to my apprenticeship?

Please contact your assessor, we can speak to your employer about furloughing you. If this is not possible we will still be able to put you on a break in learning and will help you find a new apprenticeship placement.

If I can’t work/attend training, will I still be paid?

An apprenticeship is a job with training, so even when you are not able to do your training, you are still employed. You will be paid in line with the details in your employment contract or paid as a furloughed worker if applicable. Buxton & Leek College are now delivering learning through online platforms such as SmartAssessor, you should make contact with your assessor if you have not already done so.

***Please ensure you keep your assessor updated with your current circumstances***

Please direct all enquiries to your assessor in the first instance, if you are unable to contact them for any reason please email feapprenticeships@blc.ac.uk If you require a call back please ensure to include a phone number. 

For the latest college wide updates please see our news page or follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you can also contact your assessor.