What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

The Apprenticeship Levy is a levy on employers within the UK to fund the cost of apprenticeship assessment and training. It will affect all employers in all sectors. Its purpose is to get employers to invest in apprenticeships and help improve the current quality of apprenticeships.

The levy is in force from April 6th 2017.


How did it come into place?

The levy came into place when the Government committed to getting an additional 3 million apprentices by the year 2020.

The levy was created to help fund new apprenticeships and support current ones and they believe this will help productivity growth throughout the UK. It was put into place to focus on developing vocational skills and increasing the quality of apprenticeships.

This is a brand new measure as there is no existing legislation.


Who will be affected?

The levy has been set at 0.5% of an employer’s annual pay bill. But only employers with an annual pay bill of over £3million have to pay the 0.5%.

Each UK employer has an annual allowance of £15,000, which can be offset against the levy.

The Government states that 98% of UK businesses will be exempt from paying the levy. The 20,000 levy paying businesses will generate an estimated 3 billion a year, meaning this can be reinvested into apprenticeship schemes.


How much do you pay and where does the money go?

This levy is paid through the Company PAYE (Pay As You Earn) on a monthly basis and will be payable alongside National Insurance and Income Tax. The allowance is also applied on a monthly basis, so any unused allowance can be carried forward to the following month.

UK companies/charities that are part of a group structure have one £15,000 allowance to share between their group.


How can you access the funding?

Employers will be able to access the funding through the Digital Apprenticeship Service. You’ll need to register all your details online, including your apprentice.

The DAS (Digital Apprenticeship Service) will help employers in multiple ways. It will put the employers in control by giving them access to funding for the training, choose the type of apprenticeship they require and how many they take on. It will list any new standards for apprenticeships that are designed by employers. It will also allow employers to choose the different grade of apprenticeships they need and let them find the best training provider.

All employers will have access to use the Digital Apprenticeship Service to pay for training and assessment by 2020.

Any funds in a businesses’ account will expire after 18 months if not spend on apprenticeship training. This also applies to any top ups an employer may receive.


How much does the Government contribute?

The Government will apply a 10% top up on funds through the digital account. So for every £1 that goes in the account, an additional 10p is added.


How will employers who do not pay the levy fund the training of apprentices?

Employers that do not pay the levy will be able to receive Government funding towards the costs of apprenticeship training and assessment through co-investment.

The Government will pay 90% of the price agreed with the training provider, up to the maximum allowed by the funding band for the relevant apprenticeship standard or framework.

Employers who have fewer than 50 employees will not be required to pay a contribution to the cost of the apprenticeships where the apprentice is:

• Aged 16 to 18 inclusive
• Aged 19 to 24 inclusive if he or she has previously been in care
• Aged 19 to 24 inclusive if he or she has a local authority education, health and care plan

The Government will pay 100% of the training and assessment costs in these circumstances.


Impact On Payroll

Employers will pay and report the payments for the Levy through the standard payroll process, using PAYE real time information. It will also run on definitions that employers already use for National Insurance payments. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will be in contact with employers to talk about the impact on businesses.

The Apprentice Levy is currently only operational in England, with the aim to have it up and running in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland later in the year.


Wurkplace Limited can assist companies and charities with accessing the correct information to enable them to utilise the apprenticeship levy, draft the relevant documentation to ensure legal compliance and recruit the right people to drive the business forward.

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