Sunday, October 22, 2017

Apprenticeship levy has implications for farmers

May 31, 2017 by  
Filed under News & Business

NicolaCurrie-Landscape

Help is on hand for farmers who have to pay a new apprenticeship levy, says Nicola Currie.

A new apprenticeship levy can help youngsters find a career in agriculture – while making it easier for employers to recruit suitable staff. But some farming companies are likely to need help to reap the benefits.

Aimed at increasing the number of apprenticeships, the levy was introduced from 6 April this year. It goes hand in hand with a set of new standards called Trailblazer Apprenticeships created by individual industry sectors.

The levy is be 0.5% of the wages bill payable monthly through PAYE by employers with a payroll of £3m or more. Every month, employers are required to let HMRC know whether or not they need to pay the levy, which is then due the following month.

Some employers – such as those who employ large numbers of seasonal workers – could find that they have to pay the levy in some months but not others. The PAYE system ensures that the correct amount is paid each tax year, allowable for corporation tax.

Levy payer funds will expire after 24 months if they remain unused, with the money going to support the apprenticeship system in general. It is expected that these employers will want to train existing staff through the system as well as recruiting new apprentices.

This should be where the higher and degree level apprenticeships will start to come into their own. The government is expecting employers to do more of the apprenticeship application process themselves.

Non levy payers can expect the government to continue to contribute 90% of the costs of training subject the existing age bands. Further incentives are expected for businesses with less than 50 employees who recruit apprentices aged between 16-18 years old.

A new Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) has also been launched. It enables employers will be able to choose their training provider and post apprenticeship vacancies. From May, levy payers can use the DAS to track their funds and pay for apprenticeship training.

Nicola Currie is Apprenticeship Employer Liaison Officer at Easton & Otley College. For further information, email nicola.currie@easton.otley.ac.uk

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