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Can apprentices be furloughed?

The government has stated that the scheme will apply to apprentices and that they can continue to train whilst they are furloughed. However you must pay at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage for all periods of training during furlough leave, taking into account the rate increases from 1 April 2020 and the increases which will take effect from 1 April 2021. This means that you will be responsible for any shortfall in the amount claimed under the scheme and the appropriate minimum wage.

We recommend that you get in touch to discuss any queries on furloughing apprentices.

Related FAQs

Can I renegotiate a s106 agreement if the viability on my site has changed as a result of the current climate?

The Government acknowledges that there may need to be some flexibility to enable developers to meet any existing s106 obligations, in particular financial contributions, during the current health crisis and in recent guidance it encourages Councils “to consider whether it would be appropriate to allow the developer to defer delivery”. However, the Government considers that the existing arrangements for varying a section 106 agreement by way of a deed are sufficient and will not be legislating for any additional temporary mechanisms.

In the absence of any formal variation, the Government does however advise Councils to take a “pragmatic and proportionate approach” to enforcement of planning obligations at the current time.

The Government’s advice does not refer to concerns over the quantum of any planning obligations but is concerned only with the timing for delivery. However, the viability behind many sites is likely to change as a result of temporary site closures, or the availability of construction materials and labour once sites can re-open. Where there is already a s106 agreement in place, a developer may wish to renegotiate their position on the basis that certain planning obligations are no longer affordable.

Where a s106 agreement was entered into longer than 5 years ago, an application can be made to the Council to formally vary a planning obligation that is now “without purpose”. Any refusals can be appealed to the Secretary of State.
Where a s106 agreement was entered into within the last 5 years, the agreement can only be modified with the agreement of the Council. The ability to renegotiate a s106 agreement will therefore come down to the willingness of the Council to accept the revised viability position. Where Councils are willing to consider this, a robust viability assessment agreed with the Council is likely to be needed.

How important is social distancing when planning your workplace?

It is absolutely critical to creating a safe workplace and to making workers feel secure.

This could include floor markings every 2m (as we’ve seen in grocery stores), stopping or limiting/staggering access to communal or common areas such as toilets and kitchens, rearranging workstations to maintain a 2 metre distance or, where this is not possible (for example in manufacturing facilities or production lines), erecting physical barriers and avoiding face to face working, encouraging the use of stairs and discouraging lift-use, designing a one-way system for entry and exit and looking at aircon/heating systems to see if any modifications are possible to prevent the spread of airborne particles. If you can increase ventilation in your workplace, it will help reduce risk.

The government has published detailed social distancing guidance for workplaces across sectors including manufacturing, retail, offices, construction and transport; it has also promised to continue to add to this.

What are the changes to the law?

On 25th June 2020, the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act, among other things, introduced new restrictions on suppliers of goods and services to terminate the contract in the event that the customer enters an insolvency process.  This has very important consequences for many businesses as it could expose them to greater financial risks.

The proposed start date on the Certificate of Sponsorship is about to pass, what do I do?

Sponsors should update the proposed start date by adding a sponsor note to the CoS via the Sponsor Management System.
Does a sponsor need to report a change in workplace if a Tier 2 visa holder is working from home as a result of Covid-19?

How do you support your Mental health first aider (MHFA) team?

We recommend that ongoing support is provided to all MHFA’s beyond completion of the MHFA training. It is necessary to do refresher training (approx. every 3 years) and ideally ongoing ‘continued professional development’ should be provided as well as regular opportunities for debriefing / seeking support. One way of supporting your MHFAs in the workplace is by creating a buddy system amongst the MHFAs. That way the individuals carrying out the role of MHFAs have a support structure in place amongst themselves. All trained MHFAs can also reach out to management to discuss any concerns they have or to seek any further support they need.