COVID-19 has had a huge impact on everyone. We all have had to make drastic changes to the way we conduct our daily lives. People are rushing to the supermarkets to stock up on the essentials. Businesses and schools are closed indefinitely. Most sports, music and entertainment events have been cancelled. Many people who can work from home are doing so, while others have been furloughed.

Furloughing is designed to support businesses that have been affected by the pandemic and to prevent mass unemployment. It will temporarily help pay the wages of people who are unable to do their jobs, keeping them on the payroll even though they aren’t working.

A question that we have been asked by many learners recently is “can I still undergo training while furloughed?” The short answer is: yes, you can!

What does the government say?

According to the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:

“Furloughed employees can engage in training, as long as in undertaking the training the employee does not provide services to, generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation.”

You can undertake training on your initiative or at the request of your employer. However, there is a stipulation that you and your employer need to be aware of if you undertake training at your employer’s request.

The  guidelines say:

“Where training is undertaken […] at the request of their employer, they are entitled to be paid at least their appropriate national minimum wage for this time.”

Training is treated as working time for the purposes of the minimum wage calculations. In most cases, the furlough payment will be enough to cover these training hours. However, if your furlough payment falls under minimum wage, your employer must top up your wages while you are undergoing training. Once training is complete, you will revert to your initial furlough payment. If you are unsure if your furlough payment meets the national minimum wage entitlement, check with your employer.

Learning on lockdown

So, if there’s a training course that you’ve been meaning to get round to doing, now is a perfect time! We offer an extensive catalogue of online learning packages in our eLearning Academy. We also offer our Lean Six Sigma Yellow, Green and Black Belt courses as virtual classroom courses if you prefer to learn more traditionally.

Find out more about our eLearning Academy, 1-month free trial with unlimited access to our full library of courses