Job retention bonus and funding for Apprentices

Following feedback from some NAS Members about confusing emails they have received from other organisations about the job retention bonus, we have compiled the following information to provide some clarity.

Job retention bonus

The Government’s recently announced Job Retention Bonus, a one-off payment of £1,000 for furloughed employees, is also available for apprentices.

It will only be paid to employers if they can evidence payment to the apprentice/employee of wages paid above the ‘Lower Earnings Limit’ of £520 per month on average between 31.10.2020 (the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) and 31.01.2021.

Employers will be contacted directly by HM Treasury at the end of July 2020 regarding next steps. Payments of the £1,000 bonus will be made from February 2021 onwards.

Further detail about the scheme will be announced by Government at the end of July 2020.

Rules for new apprenticeship employer incentives

The Education and Skills Funding Agency has published details of the eligibility rules for the new apprenticeship funding in England from August 2020. The policy document is for:

  • employers with a workforce in England
  • training providers who provide training for English apprenticeships
  • organisations who provide end point assessment for English apprenticeships
  • individual apprentices
  • employers who do not pay the government apprenticeship levy

From August 2020 until 31 January 2021, businesses taking on new apprentices will be rewarded with £2,000 for a 16 to 24-year-old and £1,500 for a 25 year-old. Eligibility for the cash, requires that the apprentice “must not have been employed by the employer within the six months prior to the apprenticeship contract start date”.

There is no limit on the number of incentive payments and “the payment will be made directly to employers in two equal installments, where the apprentice is still in learning at day 90 and day 365”.

Unlike the current £1,000 payment to the employer for taking on a 16 to 18-year-old (which remains in place and is passed on to the employer by the provider) the employer will need to claim the incentive payment via the online apprenticeship system from 1 September 2020. With the 90 day rule, the earliest the first half of the incentive payment would be received for an apprentice starting in August would be 30 October 2020.