The Government offer various initiatives to develop workplace skills for individuals, and these can differ depending on economic situations (such as furlough during COVID-19).
Currently, employers can apply for a payment of £3,000 for new apprentices with an employment start date from 1 October 2021 to 31 January 2022. They will also need to have an apprenticeship start date from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.
The payment is different to apprenticeship levy funds, so you can spend it on anything to support your businesses costs, such as on uniforms, your apprentice’s travel or their salary etc. It does not have to be paid back. The payment is in addition to the existing £1,000 an employer will already get for taking on an apprentice who is either:
Applications for this initiative close on 15 May 2022.
The Sector-Based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) can support your business to create a skilled workforce. It also supports individuals receiving unemployment benefits to prepare and apply for jobs in a different area of work. What benefits does this bring to you as the employer? Placements are designed to help businesses with their immediate and future recruitment needs, as well as to recruit a workforce with the right skills for business continuity. This initiative is available in England and Scotland. Whilst the individual is on a placement at an organisation, there is no direct cost to the employer.
Other schemes for your employees include Access to Work and Able Futures. If your employee has a disability or have a physical or mental health conditions that makes it hard to do their job, they may be able to get extra support from Access to Work. Additionally, Able Futures helps employees cope with any difficulties that are affecting their focus and time at work. Referring to these schemes also evidence your duty of care as an employer so mitigates risk to your organisation.
Furlough or ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CRJS)’ was brought in to help businesses and employees in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This scheme allowed employers to furlough employees and the government would pay 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2500 a month. This scheme ran from 1st March 2020 – 31st October 2020.
The Job Retention Bonus is a one-off taxable payment of £1000 that employers can claim, for each employee that they placed on furlough. The employee must have been continuously employed up to at least 31st January 2021 to be eligible. Employers will be able to claim the bonus between 15th February – 31st March 2021. The bonus will still be eligible for employees who were placed on the Job Support Scheme from October 2020.
The Job Support Scheme is nowhere near as generous as the furlough scheme; however, it is still there to help (something is better than nothing!) Whilst the furlough scheme’s focus was to keep people in jobs, the Job Support Scheme has had a shift in focus and is aimed at retaining viable jobs. For more information on the Job Support Scheme, please visit our blog or give us a call!
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