Can the apprentice take a break or pause in learning due to coronavirus?
A break or pause in learning can be initiated where the interruption to learning due to Covid-19 is greater than four weeks. This must be reported as a formal break in learning. In such circumstance the funding to the training provider will be suspended for the duration of the break. Previously, the rules only allowed an apprentice to initiate this break in learning but this has been expanded to give employers and training providers the right to initiate this. Training providers should continue with their monthly IRL submissions to the ESFA. During breaks in apprenticeships it is not necessary for the apprentice to comply with the minimum of 20% on the job training requirement but this will resume when the break ends.
Yes, but as a last resort. In summary, the law requires employers:
- to assess the workplace risks posed to new or expectant mothers or their babies;
- to alter the employee’s working conditions or hours of work to avoid any significant risk to them;
- where it is not reasonable to alter working conditions or hours, or would not avoid the risk, to offer suitable alternative work on terms that are not “substantially less favourable”;
- where suitable alternative work is not available, or the employee reasonably refuses it, the employer should consider whether it is appropriate to suspend the employee on full pay.
Those individuals who are already exempt from the existing face covering obligations, will continue to be exempt from the new rules. These include:
- Those unable to put on or wear a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or disability
- People for whom wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
- Anyone assisting someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
Homeworking can cause work-related stress and affect people’s mental health and being away from managers and colleagues could make it difficult to get proper supervision and support.
Encourage your employees to keep in touch. Put procedures in place so you can keep in direct contact with home workers and can recognise signs of stress as early as possible. Use group chat and video chat tools imaginatively.
Have an emergency point of contact and share this so people know how to get help if they need it.
People are much more anxious than usual and may be less productive as a result – recognise this and try to be patient.
Endorsing bodies are still processing applications for these visa types and endorsements are still being issued. You usually have to apply for your visa within 3 months of receipt of your endorsement. In most cases you will still be able to submit your application online within this timeframe however it will not be completed as visa application centres across the world are closed. If you cannot apply because you haven’t been able to travel and your endorsement has expired, you may still be eligible for a visa. You should make your application as planned and UKVI will consider all applications on a case by case basis.
The workplace will not revert to its pre-Covid-19 state overnight, with social distancing in the work place likely to remain in place for quite some time to come.
This could mean that businesses will need to think carefully about how their capacity will be impacted, and how this will affect their ability to perform contractual obligations.
For example, if a business has an outsourcing contract under which it has to perform a business process, or produce a particular output, will it be able to comply with contractual performance standards whilst social distancing is still in place? In the context of a manufacturing business, what will be the impact on production schedules and delivery dates? There might also be an impact on operating costs, for example if processes are changed and additional shifts are introduced – can these additional costs be sustained?
Businesses need to plan a safe system of work for their employees to ensure they comply with Health and Safety legislation, but they also need to consider how this will impact on their ability to perform pre-existing contractual obligations. Ultimately, contractual arrangements with customers might need to remain on a revised footing for a number of months.
Getting to a point where agreement is reached on allocation of additional costs and/or changes to key elements of a contract such as scope of work, performance standards and delivery date will require co-operation between contracting parties. Again, it is important that any variations that are agreed are recorded properly and follow the required contractual procedures.