The Government is committing $1.3b of its stimulus package to help small business employers keep their apprentices and trainees (apprentices) on the books.

Jennifer Lawrence, Master Builders Senior Adviser, Industry Policy sheds more light

Are you a small business owner? Do you employ or host apprentices? Read on, you may be able to get 50% of apprentice wages back.

What is available? The Government is committing $1.3 billion to help small business employers keep their apprentices on the books. Eligible small business employers and hosts can apply for a reimbursement of 50% of the wages paid to eligible apprentices from 1 January to 30 September 2020, to a maximum of $7,000 per quarter per apprentice.

  • An eligible business is a business that had fewer than 20 employees on 1 March 2020 and employed or hosted one or more eligible apprentices on this date. The business will remain eligible for the wage subsidy provided they continue to employ or host the same apprentice.
  • An eligible apprentice is an individual employed in an Australian Apprenticeship at the Certificate II level or above, with a Training Contract formally approved by the state training authority in place and who was employed or hosted by an eligible business on 1 March 2020.

Are there eligibility exclusions?

  • Employers are not eligible if they have received or are in receipt of the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy or equivalent Australian Government wage subsidy for the same apprentice.
  • If an employer terminates an eligible apprentice they will no longer be able to access the wage subsidy if they re-hire that apprentice or re-engage a different eligible apprentice.
  • Apprentices are not eligible if they were on a suspension on 1 March 2020.

What happens if I have to stand down my apprentice? If a business suspends an eligible apprentice after 1 March 2020 for less than six months, they will be able to access the wage subsidy when the apprentice returns to the same employer. If it has been longer than six months, the wage subsidy will no longer be available.

I employ apprentices, how do I apply? From 2 April 2020, you can apply by contacting your local Apprenticeship Support Network. Once approved, you can seek reimbursement by completing a Supporting Apprentices and Trainees Claim Form. Reimbursements are for a three month period and are paid in arrears. The first claim will be for the period 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2020.

I host apprentices, how do I apply? Your Group Training Organisation (GTO), as the employer, will apply for the wage subsidy. Applications open on 2 April 2020. Your GTO will receive the reimbursement and must pass this on to you. Your first reimbursement will be equal to half of the wages paid by the GTO to the apprentice (not half of what you paid to the GTO) between 1 January and 31 March 2020. You will remain eligible for the reimbursement if you continue to host the same apprentice.

What if I employ or hire an apprentice after 1 March 2020? Businesses can continue to hire apprentices. However, wages are only eligible for the subsidy if the apprentice was employed or hosted by a small business on 1 March 2020. If an eligible apprentice is let go by their host but remains employed by the same GTO, a business of any size that subsequently hosts the apprentice will receive the wage reimbursement. If an eligible apprentice is let go by their employer:

  • a business of any size that re-engages them can access the wage subsidy for that apprentice from the time they are employed to 30 September 2020.
  • a GTO that re-engages them can access the wage subsidy for that apprentice from the time they are employed to 30 September 2020. The GTO can choose to keep the reimbursement or to pass it on in-full or in-part to a host business.

Want more information? Contact your state Master Builders Association or your local Apprenticeship Support Network.

Are you a small business owner? Do you employ or host apprentices? Read on, you may be able to get 50% of apprentice wages back.

Jennifer Lawrence

Senior Adviser - Industry Policy

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