Tax Relief and Home Working

By The Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) Last Updated 19th October 2020

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 homeworking has become the norm for many millions of people.


A common concern is what, if any, recompense employees can get for any additional costs as a result of their new arrangements.

In general, the starting point is to look at the existing rules for homeworking, which have been around for some time, but there are also covid-specific concessions to consider.

This article covers:

  • What homeworking expenses employers can reimburse tax-free.
  • The tax reliefs that employees can claim – including some covid-specific provisions.
  • Specific issues regarding the provision of office equipment.

Option 1: Employer reimbursement of costs

From 2003, employers have been able to make tax-free payments to help employees cover their reasonable additional expenses incurred while working from home. Eligible payments are not subject to either income tax or national insurance.

Which employees are eligible?

To be eligible, the employee must be carrying out the duties of their employment under homeworking arrangements. This means that the employee is regularly performing some or all of their duties at home.

HMRC guidance notes that they will accept an employee is working at home regularly where it is frequent, or follows a pattern, such as working at home for two days of every week. In the example of an employee working two days a week at home, HMRC will still consider it to be regular even if the employee varies the days which they work at home each week. 

Informal working at home which is not by arrangement does not count as homeworking – for example taking work home in the evenings will not qualify the employee for tax-free reimbursement of costs. There must be an arrangement to work at home and not at the employer’s premises, and it is good practice for this to be in writing.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, HMRC will accept that employees working from home because their employer’s offices have closed – or because the employee is following advice to self-isolate – meet these requirements. Newly home-based employees will be eligible to receive the allowance tax free from the date that their employer agreed they could work from home, or from when the initial government advice to work at home was announced in March 2020.

What costs can the payments cover?

The reimbursements can only cover reasonable additional costs incurred by the homeworking employee. There are two main approaches.

Firstly, the employer can pay the following fixed amounts:

  • £6/week for weekly paid employees (£4/week prior to 6 April 2020); or
  • £26/month for monthly paid employees (£18/month prior to 6 April 2020).

The advantage of paying at these rates is that there is no need for the employer to justify the expenditure and the employee does not need to keep records of their additional costs.

The weekly, flat-rate amount applies equally to part-time workers and it is not necessary to pro-rate it because the employee does not work at home full-time.

If the flat-rate is not appropriate, then a larger tax-free amount can be paid subject to provision of evidence for the additional costs. There are two ways to do this.

The first approach is to calculate a scale rate payment which reimburses the average additional costs of working at home. It is possible to agree to increase this annually. Once the scale rate has been established following HMRC guidance, then employees are not required to keep subsequent evidence of costs.

In practice, we do not expect HMRC to have the resources to agree scale-rates during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Alternatively, the employer can reimburse the actual additional costs incurred by the employee. Allowable costs include:

  • additional heating and lighting costs
  • additional insurance
  • metered water
  • telephone or internet access charges
  • business rates (if applicable)

Only the increase in costs incurred by the employee can be reimbursed. Costs that would be the same whether or not you work at home cannot be included. Such costs might include:

  • mortgage interest or rent
  • council tax
  • water rates

For costs such as broadband internet connection, HMRC say that if the employee is already paying for a connection before starting working from home then this is an existing expense and cannot be reimbursed tax-free. If, however, the employee is not connected to broadband and needs a connection to work from home, then this would qualify as an additional cost which the employer could reimburse tax-free. 

The same principles will apply for the cost of a domestic landline rental. Only additional costs incurred by the employee as a result of homeworking can be reimbursed by their employer tax-free.

The employer is also not permitted to reimburse tax-free any costs that put the employee in a position to work at home such as building alterations. However, the employer can provide office equipment and office furniture. These would be tax-free benefits in kind. (Although see below for tax issues that can arise where the employee provides their own equipment.)  

Option 2: Employee seeks tax relief

If an employer does not choose to reimburse some or all of the homeworking employee’s extra expenses, then under the existing rules the employee is not automatically allowed tax relief on their extra costs. Tax relief for extra costs is only given if such costs are incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily for the employee’s work.

Which employees are eligible under the usual rules?

In order to claim tax relief for homeworking costs, the usual rules are that an employee must show that their home is a workplace. HMRC will accept that a home is a workplace where:

  1. The employee performs substantive duties at home. Substantive duties are the tasks that employees must carry out which form all or part of the central duties of their employment. 
  2. The duties require the use of appropriate facilities and such facilities are not available to the employee on the employer’s premises. (Or the employee lives so far away from the premises it is unreasonable to expect them to travel there on a daily basis.)
  3. At no time before or after the employment contract is drawn up is the employee able to choose between working at the employer’s premises or elsewhere.

While the first two of these conditions are likely to be met by employees homeworking as a result of COVID-19, it was not immediately clear whether HMRC would consider the third to have been met during the pandemic.

Temporary relaxation during the pandemic

On 27 March 2020, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury suggested in a written parliamentary answer that HMRC might take a more lenient view on tax relief for homeworking expenses during the pandemic for those employees who do not meet the strict definition of home as workplace and whose employers will not make any contribution to their costs.

In October 2020, further clarification from HMRC was supplied to the ATT and other professional bodies to confirm that relief will be available for individuals who are working at home on a regular basis for all or part of their time as a result of coronavirus. We understand that this relaxation to the usual tests will apply for 2020/21 (and we presume also to the short period at teh end of 2019/20 when the Government first advised mass homeworking), as long as the employee is not working at home by choice.

HMRC is emphasising that it is not possible for employees to simply decide to work from home in light of the Government’s advice. There must be a discussion with the employer and, if the employer decides that the employee should wokr from home, the deduction will be available.

For example, if the employer cannot accommodate the employee in the office because of social distancing, then the employee would be entitled to claim. But where the employer offers the employee the option to return to work but the employee chooses to remain at home, the deduction is not available.

What costs can the payments cover?

An employee who either meets the usual rules, or falls within the temporary relaxation of regular home working as a result of coronavirus, can claim relief for the following expenses. With the exception of insurance, are very similar to the costs that can be reimbursed by their employer above:

  • additional heating and lighting
  • metered water

An employee cannot claim relief for the following expenses:

  • mortgage interest or rent
  • council tax
  • water rates
  • insurance

Where, as is often the case, it is not practical to calculate the allowable extra costs, then a claim for £26 per month (£18 per month prior to 6 April 2020) for monthly paid employees or £6 a week (£4 per week prior to 6 April 2020) can be made without having to justify the figure. This does not cover the cost of business calls, for which an additional claim can be made based on actual costs. This is confirmed in a recent update to HMRC’s manuals at EIM32815.

Where the employee works from home some, but not all of the time – for example they work at home three days a week and in the office two days a week – they can still claim the full £6 a week deduction. There is no need to scale it back just because the employee is not working at home on a full time basis.

Where the employer pays some contribution towards homeworking expenses, but not the full £6 a week or £26 a month, then the employee can seek tax relief for the difference.

How to make claims:

An employee can make a claim:

  • Online, with the new P87 micro-service which was launched on 1 October 2020
  • By phone
  • By post
  • Or, if they are registered for self-assessment, through their tax return.

Full details are available from GOV.UK and HMRC has a tool, to help guide employees to the most appropriate method for their circumstances. 

Claims for the homeworking allowance for 2020/21 can be made through the new micro-service even before the end of the tax year on 5 April 2021. HMRC have said that they will apply the relief for the whole year even if the employee then returns to the office before 5 April 2021.

Claims for homeworking allowances will not be automatically rolled forward into 2021/22 and it is not currently HMRC’s intention to extend the modified approach being applied to claims in 2020/21 to 2021/22. Anyone claiming homeworking allowance for 2021/22 will need to meet the usual conditions.

Purchases of Office Equipment

It is generally accepted that working solely on a laptop for long periods is poor practice, and can lead to discomfort and back pain. Many homeworkers will need additional equipment including monitors, keyboards and even desks and chairs in order to make a functional office space at home. Fortunately, following an announcement on 13 May 2020, some of the unintended outcomes which could arise here have been dealt with by the Government.

Employer purchase

If the employer has purchased and provided any necessary equipment then, provided there is no significant private use, no taxable benefit in kind arises on the employee.

(If there is significant private use, then a benefit in kind will arise and so employers may wish to ensure that their employment policies make clear that significant private use is not permitted.)

If, at a later date, ownership of the asset is transferred from the employer to the employee then a benefit in kind could arise.

Employee purchase and employer reimburses

In some circumstances, employees may have purchased their own equipment personally in order to get set up as soon as possible. Employers may even have advised this, and offered to reimburse the costs afterwards.

Usually, employer reimbursements of employee expenses are treated differently for tax purposes and this approach involving a subsequent reimbursement is normally taxable on the employee. This is clearly unwelcome, and therefore the announcement on of a temporary exemption from income tax and national insurance for such reimbursements is very welcome.

The relevant legislation took effect on 11 June 2020 and introduces a temporary measure for the period to 5 April 2021. Using their discretion, HMRC are treating the exemption as applying from 16 March 2020. Under the provision, any reimbursement by an employer for the cost of equipment is exempt from income tax and national insurance as long as it:

  • was provided for the sole purpose of enabling homeworking as a result of coronavirus, and
  • would have been tax exempt if provided directly by the employer.

Furthermore, any private use of the reimbursed equipment should not be significant.

As this exemption has been laid under powers provided for by section 210 of ITEPA 2003 (power to exempt minor benefits) – and equivalent sections for NICs – any exemption is conditional on the benefit being made available to all an employer’s employees generally on similar terms. Therefore, employers should ensure that similar reimbursement terms apply to all employees that need to work from home. It will not, for example, be acceptable for directors to ensure that they are reimbursed for office equipment but other staff are not.

If at some point in the future the employee returns to work and retains the equipment, HMRC have confirmed via guidance that no benefit in kind will arise at that point.

Employee purchases but employer does not reimburse

If the employer is unable or unwilling to reimburse the cost of equipment or office furniture, then employees will need to see if they are able to satisfy the conditions to claim tax relief through capital allowances.

This requires them to demonstrate that the equipment is used in the performance of their duties. Under current HMRC guidance, they are likely to struggle to obtain relief under capital allowances for office furniture.

This is because office furniture such as desks and chairs put the employee in a (more comfortable) position to do their duties. The items are not used in the actual duties themselves in the way that a laptop or printer would be. The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group in particular are urging caution here.

Accordingly, tax relief from HMRC is unlikely for the costs of office furniture and employees may wish to seek reimbursement from their employer. But tax relief for office equipment used in their duties is possible although employer reimbursement remains the better option.

Claims for office furniture cannot be made through the new online portal (microservice).

DWP Touchbase: 16 October 2020
October 19, 2020
Employers joining the Kickstart Scheme 
As employers sign up for the new Kickstart Scheme, we’re sharing a video from Molinare TV and Film. Watch the video to find out how they are helping young people get a foothold in the creative sector through Kickstart. The Kickstart Scheme funds employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds who are claiming Universal Credit. Businesses applying for fewer than 30 positions over the lifetime of the scheme need to bid through a representative who will help them with their applications, ensure jobs are of good quality and young people receive the right support. Find out more   
Employment and Support Allowance updates Extension of Employment Support Allowance support for those impacted by COVID-19 
DWP has announced an extension of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for those impacted by COVID-19. This means that ESA will remain available from day one to people with coronavirus or who have to self-isolate. Regulations, which came into effect on 13 March for those affected by COVID-19, have been extended for a further six months until 12 May 2021. The regulations remove the seven ESA waiting days, and treat claimants as having Limited Capability for Work without the requirement for fit notes or a Work Capability Assessment. This applies to both new style and legacy ESA new claims and ensures that support is provided as early as possible to those who are affected by coronavirus.  

Helping people follow the process for Employment Support Allowance applications 
When applying for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) it is really important people follow the right process so they get the correct benefit they are entitled to. There are 3 different types of ESA – ‘new style’, contributory and income-related. The type people get depends on their circumstances and it is important they check their eligibility on GOV.UK before making an application. When people have established which type of ESA they are eligible for they need to follow the correct application process as outlined on GOV.UK to make sure they get the money they are entitled to as smoothly as possible. Please share this information within your organisation and with your audiences and customers.   
 Job Support Scheme expanded 
The Job Support Scheme has been expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions Under this expanded scheme, the Government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries to protect jobs over the coming months. Cash grants available for businesses required to close in local lockdowns, have also increased to up to £3,000 per month. Find out more  
Warm Home Discount Scheme 
Nearly a million pensioners across the UK will automatically receive £140 off their fuel bills as a result of government working closely with energy firms to cut their costs. The deduction, called the Warm Home Discount Scheme, will be taken automatically from energy bills before March 2021, with most pensioners receiving their discounts between now and January. Further information can be found on GOV.UK.  
Call for evidence on in-work progression 
DWP is calling for evidence that will help contribute to future policy on in-work progression. The new consultation is open until 20 November and is seeking views on challenges to progression in low pay sectors, benefits of progression to employers and localities, and examples of good practice across the country. To find out more or to take part, please visit GOV.UK.
Remote Working Leading to ‘Hidden Fractures’ in the Workforce
October 16, 2020

Hidden fractures’ caused by working from home are forming in the workforce and risk causing irreparable damage to cultures and productivity, according to new research from digital culture platform Totem.

The organisation’s survey of 1,000 UK employees found that while the shift to home working during the coronavirus pandemic has been a positive experience for many, there have been issues emerging around a lack of interaction, collaboration, recognition and support that could cause lasting damage to workplace trust, culture and engagement.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of employees feel that working from home has had a positive impact on workplace culture, with the majority (61%) saying they are able to complete their work effectively while working from home.

But despite these benefits, Totem also found that while working from home, over half (55%) of employees feel it has been harder to work as a team, 54% feel less motivated, and 51% feel it is harder to reach out for help from teammates.

Totem warned that unless employers address these issues, surviving and maintaining growth as the economy recovers after the pandemic will be a much bigger challenge, particularly as remote working is likely to remain the norm for most in the short and medium term.

Marcus Thornley, CEO of Totem, said that businesses would have to find new ways to celebrate daily successes if remote teams are to stay motivated.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “The saying goes ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and, worryingly, for many companies working remotely right now, that may be the case as they struggle to communicate – and recognise each other’s successes – as they would in the office environment.”

The research also found there is a strong desire from many employees for remote working to continue.

While the majority (88%) of respondents worked from an office before COVID-19 hit, many people said they would now feel anxious (28%) or unhappy (18%) if their employer made it mandatory to return to the office full-time.

If they could choose, only 25% said they would work from an office full-time while 44% would choose hybrid working and the remaining 31% would choose to work from home full-time.

In addition to recognition (critical for 33% of respondents) the study found that accessible support and guidance when you need it (31%) was one of the most important elements to creating a positive remote working culture.

Thornley added: “First and foremost, business leaders need to design for remote. The reality is that many teams will have to operate on some sort of remote basis for the foreseeable future, so you need to ensure that you are working to create a shared experience, regardless of their location.

“For instance, although people may be sitting in their kitchen or living room, this doesn’t mean you can’t create meaningful experiences at key moments in employee life-cycles – whether that’s onboarding, promotions, new business wins, or leaving.

“If effectively supported, these key moments can positively shape sentiment towards employers, role and colleagues.”

Consumer research for the survey was undertaken on behalf of Totem by Pollfish, with fieldwork conducted online on 11September 2020.

ESFA Update: 14 October 2020

Latest information and actions from the Education and Skills Funding Agency for academies, schools, colleges, local authorities and further education providers.


ESFA Update further education: 14 October 2020

ESFA Update academies: 14 October 2020

ESFA Update local authorities: 14 October 2020

Items for further education
Informationcompleting the FE education setting status form webinar – Thursday 15 October at 3:15pm
Remindersubmit your final 2019 to 2020 ILR
Informationcoronavirus testing kits for further education providers
Informationthe Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers 2020 live broadcast – register now
Information19 to 24 traineeship procurement opportunity for existing and new providers
InformationFunctional Skills Qualifications (FSQs) legacy end dates
Informationeligibility for calculated results – clarified guidance
InformationLevel 2 Apprenticeships Functional Skills requirements
Informationfunding claims 2019 to 2020 – final claim
Informationfunding to local transport authorities
Informationgrants to reduce carbon emissions, save energy and reduce bills
Items for academies
Informationfunding claims 2019 to 2020 – final claim
Informationguidance on submitting your audited financial statements for 2019 to 2020
Informationguidance for schools and academy trusts on governance structures and roles
InformationSchool Admissions Code consultation closing date
Informationupdated good estate management for schools (GEMS) guidance
InformationAcademic Mentor Programme
Informationgrants to reduce carbon emissions, save energy and reduce bills
Items for local authorities
Reminderlocal authorities to submit grant return and use of funds statement by 31 October 2020
Informationfunding claims 2019 to 2020 – final claim
Informationguidance for schools and academy trusts on governance structures and roles
Informationupdated good estate management for schools (GEMS) guidance
InformationAcademic Mentor Programme
Informationgrants to reduce carbon emissions, save energy and reduce bills

Published 14 October 2020

Vocational and Technical Qualification Assessments in 2021
October 14, 2020

Ofqual statement on adapting vocational and technical qualifications and assessments in 2021.

Student and lecturer in a technical setting

We recognise that some learners taking vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) have experienced lost teaching and training time as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and that appropriate arrangements need to be put in place to mitigate the impact of this disruption and respond to any ongoing or future public health measures.

We consulted on proposals to permit awarding organisations to adjust their qualifications and assessments, which took account of the different ways in which the qualifications are used – ranging from those taken alongside, or instead of general qualifications, to those used to signal occupational competency. On 7 September, we confirmed our decisions and that the proposed arrangements will be implemented in full.

Today (12 October 2020) we are publishing the Extended Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (ERF), on which we recently consulted, to put the arrangements into effect. The Extended ERF sets out the regulatory arrangements and statutory guidance with which awarding organisations must comply when adapting their qualifications. It includes 4 principles with which awarding organisations must comply when making their decisions around adaptations, supported by statutory guidance. We have also included statutory guidance on Special Consideration within our regulatory framework.

We are grateful to those who responded to the consultation, who were largely supportive of our approach. We are therefore implementing the Extended ERF with immediate effect, only minor drafting changes from the version on which we consulted.

October 14, 2020

Starting a Classs

● If it’s your first time using Zoom, visit the Educating Guide: Getting Started on Zoom and complete the steps in advance of your class to get you set up.

● Schedule your class in the Zoom application for your desired date/time and copy the invitation details to send to your students.

*Please note that students will not need to register for an account to join.

● Join your class a couple minutes early to ensure a proper connection then follow the below tips for a quality online learning experience.

Tips and Tricks for Virtual Lessons

● For your first class, set aside some time to introduce your students to Zoom and ensure that they’re able to connect their audio and video.

● Give an agenda or plan for each class by Screen Sharing a document or slide at the beginning of class. This gives students a clear idea of how the class will progress, what will be covered, and the activities they’ll engage in.

● Discuss online etiquette and expectations of the students in your first virtual class and periodically revisit the topics.

● Utilize the Whiteboard or Annotate a shared document and let your students engage as well. When sharing a whiteboard, document, screen, or image, try whiteboarding math problems or have a student use annotation to highlight items such as grammar mistakes in a paper you’re sharing.

● Take time to promote questions, comments, and reactions from your class. Give a minute to allow your students to utilize reactions, write their questions in chat, or be unmuted to ask their questions live.

● Divide into smaller groups for a discussion on a certain topic. You can use Zoom’s Breakout Room feature to either pre-assign or auto-assign students into groups for a short period of time so they may discuss things together.

● Have students be the presenter and share projects with the class. This allows your students to show what they’re working on while practicing their presentation skills. It also allows students to hear from one another.

Teaching Over Video – Delivery Tips and Tricks

● Pre-set your meeting to mute participant’s microphones upon entry. This helps to avoid background noise and allow your students to focus on your lesson.

● Look at the camera to create eye contact with your students. This helps to create a more personal connection while teaching over video.

● Take a second to check chat or your student’s video (if on camera) to check-in with your students and get feedback.

● Speak as if you’re face-to-face with the class while ensuring you’re at the appropriate distance from the microphone for the best audio experience.

● When delivering a presentation, sharing images, files or video, give your students a moment to open or take in what you’ve shared.

● Embrace the pause. Take a moment after the end of your comments and allow for students to engage before continuing on.

Great Tools Built into Zoom for Engagement

● Polling:

● Breakout Rooms:

● Non-verbal Feedback:

● Virtual Backgrounds:

● Sharing a Screen:

● Whiteboard:

● Annotation:

● Transcription of meetings:

● Chat:

Additional Resources

● Outschool, a marketplace for live online classes, has made available Free Remote Teacher Training Webinars showing how to adapt teaching practices and curriculum to a live video chat classroom. These webinars are led by Outschool’s experienced teachers who have transitioned from in-person to online teaching. Educators can sign up and find available times/dates here:

ViewPoint: Navigating Careers in the Never Normal
October 13, 2020

This article by Julie Winkle Giulioni was published in SmartBrief.

Shortly after the global pandemic changed the face of the workplace, writers and leaders began contemplating the new normal — how the world would be once things settled down. Months in, as reality took hold, the language shifted from “new” to “next” – as “normal” became a moving target.

After more than six months, millions of lost jobs and countless pivots in service of evolving conditions and customer needs, we must again adjust how we talk about what’s to come. We might need to let go of what we used to know and acknowledge that the kind of stability and predictability we enjoyed in the past won’t return.

We’re not going back

By all accounts, we’re not going back to normal or new or next. And a range of factors — many established long before COVID-19 — are contributing to today’s never-normal-again environment.

  • Organizations were already under productivity and profit pressure. They were already leveraging assets and optimizing resources, doing exponentially more with less.
  • Competition was coming from new and varied sources. (Who would have imagined Amazon getting into the real estate business?) As a result, organizations were becoming more attuned, alert and anxious about protecting market share and expanding their pieces of the pie.
  • Disruption was the name of the game in early 2020. Now the combination of a global pandemic, economic downturn and racial inequity has left individuals and organizations feeling insecure and on unstable ground.
  • Workforce dynamics are in flux as working from home becomes the standard rather than the exception, which shifts power dynamics and democratizes opportunity. Whether one works as a vice president at corporate headquarters or as a supervisor out of a garage in Topeka, Kan., everyone occupies the same size tile and has the same volume voice in the new online workspace.

With so many forces and factors conspiring to reshape the business landscape, we should not expect a return to normal. To the contrary, we should expect a kaleidoscope of change coming at an unprecedented pace.

Savvy leaders and employees who recognize this new reality also recognize the implications, as well as the powerful opportunities for growth and career development within our never-normal environment. 

Never normal means more informal

The opportunities for growth are plentiful, but only for leaders and employees who embrace new approaches to learning and development. We can no longer rely upon old, formal, programmatic formulas. What’s needed are more organic, self-driven and informal means to mine the richness that the workplace has to offer.

Four shifts can introduce infinitely more opportunities for growth.

  1. Continuous learning must give way to creative learning through an ever-growing circle of resources. It’s been said that information is power. But given the nearly unlimited volume of data at our fingertips and speed with which things change, we can’t always wait for insights to be formally documented and chronicled, even if we could find it all. We need to go to the source: the people around us. That’s why the freshest and most necessary learning now happens in real time, in informal person-to-person interactions. As a result, tapping an always-growing network of resources is a powerful development and success strategy. 
  2. Agility equals ability. Seeing what’s next and pivoting gracefully will not only protect careers, it also will grow them in new, interesting and meaningful ways. Invest effort into becoming more flexible and nimbler in your thinking and actions. It’s one of today’s most highly valued competencies and will likely remain so.
  3. DIY development no longer only means “do it yourself.” In recent years, it’s become increasingly evident that employees must own their careers, taking the lead as they work with their leaders to craft plans to support their goals. While that philosophy remains valid, DIY today also stands for “develop individual yardsticks.” The days of the predictable progression up the corporate ladder are long gone. Continuing to hold those expectations as the measure of career success will only lead to disappointment and disengagement.As a result, everyone at every level of the organization must redefine success in ways that align with today’s realities. We must stop focusing on what we want to be. Instead of obsessing over promotions and position, we must begin defining career success in terms of the kind of work we want to do, the problems we want to solve and the challenges we want to embrace. This, then, becomes a unique and personal yardstick for success.
  4. Ad hoc feedback is the new individual development plan. The speed at which the workplace is changing and the uncertainty that accompanies it has rendered the idea of annual anything useless. Think about your development plans instituted last year. Much has likely been rendered null and void. The infrequent, formal conversations of the past simply don’t operate at the speed of business today. But, do you know what does? The day-in and day-out feedback we get from colleagues, customers, suppliers, contractors and others with whom we regularly interact. This informal feedback offers the insight, redirection and focus required for relevant growth and career success, especially during times of uncertainty and change.

There’s little that we can predict about the months and years ahead. Still, one thing is for sure. It won’t be the normal that we’d all come to know and love. Holding on to a new or next version of that will likely only leave us disappointed and unprepared.

Letting go of these expectations and embracing reality may not be easy. But it’s definitely the first step toward preparing for the growth and development required of a never-normal future.

Julie Winkle Giulioni works with organizations worldwide to improve performance through leadership and learning.  Named one of Inc. Magazine’s top 100 leadership speakers, Giulioni is the co-author of the Amazon and Washington Post bestseller “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Organizations Need and Employees Want,” You can learn more about her speaking, training and blog at

DWP Touchbase: 9 October 2020
October 12, 2020
A roundup of recent DWP announcements  
Job Support Scheme expanded to firms required to close due to COVID Restrictions 
The Chancellor has announced that the government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions. Find out more 
New employment programme launched 
This week DWP has launched Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS), a new programme that will provide employment support for those out of work for three months. Those put forward for the scheme by their Work Coach, will have access to tailored, flexible support to help them quickly get back into employment. The new programme will offer a range of help, including specialist advice on moving into growing sectors, as well as CV and interview coaching. This will give jobseekers the boost they need to return to employment supported by an action plan agreed with their Work Coach, peer support and opportunities to build their skills. JETS will provide employment support to Universal Credit claimants in the all work related requirements group and New Style Jobseekers Allowance claimants who have been unemployed for at least 13 weeks. More information can be found at GOV.UK.  
Local employers join Kickstart 
Suffolk Libraries has become a Kickstart Scheme Gateway, supporting local employers in the area to take advantage of the new scheme creating job placements for young people. In this short clip you can find out why they joined the Kickstart Scheme. Any organisation can apply to become a Kickstart Scheme Gateway, including businesses, local authorities, trade bodies, Chambers of Commerce and charities. The Kickstart Scheme funds employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds who are claiming Universal Credit. Businesses applying for fewer than 30 positions over the lifetime of the scheme need to bid through a representative who will help them with their applications, ensure jobs are of a good quality and make sure that young people receive the right support. Find out more  
Green Homes Grant 
Applications are now open for the Green Homes Grant scheme. The scheme will give over 600,000 homeowners in England up to £5,000 to pay part of the cost of energy saving measures like insulation. Some homeowners on income-based or disability benefits may be eligible for vouchers covering the full cost of improvement, up to £10,000.   
 Materials are available to share with homeowners and tradespeople.
ESFA: Business Update – Issue 62 (October 2020)

In this edition of Business Update, our round-up of business-critical news and information from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA):

  1. Prime Minister Lifetime Skills Guarantee Speech – 29 September 2020
  2. Ofsted Apprenticeship Inspections – Level 6 and 7
  3. Legislative changes to support redundant apprentices
  4. National Apprenticeship Week 2021 date announced
  5. Top 100 broadcast date announced
  6. National Apprenticeship Awards entries close
  7. website updates
  8. Functional Skills in apprenticeships
  9. Redundancy Support Service for Apprenticeships – YouTube video
  10. Incentive for Hiring a New Apprentice – Recap
  11. IfATE Route Review workshops

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For more information about apprenticeships, you can visit or call 08000 150 600.

1. Prime Minister Lifetime Skills Guarantee Speech – 29 September 2020

The Prime Minister has set out long term plans to transform the training and skills system, making it fit for the 21st century economy and to ensure that, as work changes, people can retrain, upskill, and find new well-paid jobs, helping the country build back better from coronavirus.

Apprenticeship opportunities will be increased, with more funding for SMEs taking on apprentices, and greater flexibility in how their training is structured – especially in sectors such as construction and creative industries where there are more varied employment patterns.

In addition to this:

  • From April, in England adults without an A-Level or equivalent qualification will be offered a free, fully-funded college course – providing them with skills valued by employers, and the opportunity to study at a time and location that suits them, paid for through the National Skills Fund.
  • Higher education loans will also be made more flexible, allowing adults and young people to space out their study across their lifetimes, take more high-quality vocational courses in further education colleges and universities, and to support people to retrain for jobs of the future, backed by continued investment in college buildings and facilities – including over £1.5 billion in capital funding.
  • The government is committed to making higher education more flexible to facilitate lifelong learning, and to make it easy for adults and young people to break up their study into segments, transfer credits between colleges and universities, and enable more part-time study. This new arrangement will provide finance for shorter term studies, rather than having to study in one three or four-year block.
  • The government is also committing £8 million for digital skills boot camps, expanding successful pilots in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands and introducing programmes in four new locations. From next year, boot camps will be extended to sectors like construction and engineering, helping the country build back better and support our refreshed Industrial Strategy.
  • £2.5 billion is also being made available through the National Skills Fund to help get people working again after COVID, as well as giving those in work the chance to train for higher-skilled, better-paid jobs.

View the transcript from the full speech.

2. Ofsted Apprenticeship Inspections – Level 6 and 7

The Education Secretary announced on Monday 28 September that, following careful consideration, the Government has accepted the Augar Review’s recommendation that Ofsted become the single body responsible for the inspection of the quality of apprenticeship training provision at all levels.

From 1 April 2021, Ofsted will therefore assume responsibility for inspecting level 6 and 7 apprenticeships (both degree and non-degree) as they do currently for levels 2-5. The Education Secretary has written to Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman to confirm this policy change.

This change will ensure consistency in quality standards across apprenticeships, so that employers and apprentices can have confidence that apprenticeship training is subject to a consistent approach to quality assurance, regardless of provider type or the level of the apprenticeship.

A series of virtual conferences will be launched later this year to give providers an opportunity to hear directly from ESFA, Ofsted and the OfS, and understand what this change means for them. Further information will follow in due course.

3. Legislative changes to support redundant apprentices

On Thursday 10th September, a statutory instrument (SI) was laid in Parliament that will amend legislation to allow more redundant apprentices to complete their apprenticeships.

Currently the Education and Skills Funding Agency continue to fund the apprentice to complete their programme if they are made redundant within six months of their final day of training. This allows apprentices that are close to the end of their apprenticeship to continue with it while they look for another employer to complete their apprenticeship with, or, if they are unable to find one, allow them to complete their apprenticeship without an employer.

The decision to amend legislation will help support more redundant apprentices affected by COVID-19. The amended legislation will extend this support to also fund to completion all apprentices who are at least 75% of their way through their apprenticeship at the point of redundancy. This will give apprentices who have made a substantial and long-term investment in their apprenticeship the opportunity to complete their training and achieve occupational competence.

These changes will mean more redundant apprentices can complete their apprenticeship, putting them in a stronger position to secure new employment. The SI will extend this support to apprentices undertaking both standards and frameworks.

The SI is currently going through parliamentary processes and we will provide a further update in due course

4. National Apprenticeship Week 2021 date announced

The 14th annual National Apprenticeship Week date has been announced and will take place from 8 to 14 February 2021.

National Apprenticeship Week is an annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships across England and is a time to recognise and applaud apprenticeship success stories across the country. Apprenticeship employers use the opportunity to promote the success of their apprentices and highlight the huge benefits to other employers, of all sizes, who are thinking of taking on an apprentice. Apprentices across the country will also be celebrated throughout the week

Throughout the years, National Apprenticeship Week has connected apprenticeship supporters from across the country, with MPs, ambassadors, apprentices, training providers and top employers involved in recognising the value and importance of apprenticeships.

The theme of National Apprenticeship Week 2021 will be announced in due course on GOV.UK.

5. The Top 100 broadcast will take place on the 21 October 2020.

The Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers ranking will celebrate the country’s outstanding apprenticeship employers and help potential apprentices, parents and careers advisers to easily identify apprenticeship opportunities.

Top employers, who are helping to lead an ‘apprenticeship revolution’ and getting more people into skilled jobs, will be recognised in a new national ranking of the leading employers of apprentices. More than 100,000 organisations in England are now apprenticeship employers, England’s leading employers will be recognised for their overall commitment to employing apprentices, their creation of new apprenticeships, the diversity of their new apprentices, and the progression of their apprentices onto further apprenticeships and employment.

Beginning in 2020, the annual rankings will showcase the nation’s Top 100 employers that have done the most to provide successful apprenticeships over the previous 12 months and have been developed by the National Apprenticeship Service, in partnership with High Fliers Research, who will independently assess and compile the new national leader board of top apprenticeship employers.

More information on how to register to join the broadcast will be made available in the coming weeks on the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer website.

6. National Apprenticeship Awards entries close

The National Apprenticeship Awards 2020 are now closed for entries.

Back for their 17th year, the National Apprenticeship Awards highlight business and individual success in apprenticeships and are particularly poignant this year, given the challenges many employers and apprentices have faced during the pandemic.

This year winners will be recognised at online broadcast ceremonies. These ceremonies will also showcase good news stories from Covid-19, with examples of where apprentices have gone above and beyond to make a difference.

Regional ceremonies will take place between 2 and 6 November, with the national ceremony taking place on 25 November.

To find out more about the National Apprenticeship Awards 2020, or to sign up to the mailing list, please visit:

7. website updates

The website has been refreshed, with more information including setting up an account on the Apprenticeship Service, support for apprentices who are at risk of, or who have been made redundant (ReSSA) and links to the financial incentives for employers recruiting apprentices.

8. Functional Skills in apprenticeships

We are closely monitoring the assessment of Functional Skills in apprenticeships and delays caused by COVID-19 restrictions. Although most training and assessment has either returned to normal or is being delivered remotely, this has not happened in every case.

The inability to complete Functional Skills elements may delay the completion of apprentices’ programmes. We are working closely with providers and Ofqual to take appropriate actions to resolve the issue, but we also need employers to consider how they can best support their employees

Some employers have not been able to release their apprentices to complete their Functional Skills training or assessment or have not been able to host providers or assessment organisations in the workplace. We believe that, in some instances, these barriers can be overcome. We are asking employers to work with their training providers to explore flexibilities that will allow apprentices to complete their assessments. For instance, hosting them in different locations.

9. The Redundancy Support Service for Apprenticeships – YouTube video

The Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices (ReSSA) provides clear, accessible advice and guidance to individuals on the impact of redundancy, their options, and next steps. Since the service launched on 1 August 2020, we have been able to support apprentices across England. We have been contacted by a range of employers, large and small, who have shared details of their vacancies through the service.

Watch our new YouTube video to find out how taking on a redundant apprentice can benefit your organisation and how to access the service.

If you are aware of any apprentices who have been affected by redundancy please encourage them to visit Facing redundancy during your apprenticeship or call 0800 015 0400 to speak to an adviser.

Read more on GOV.UK.

10. Incentive for Hiring a New Apprentice – Recap

From 1 September, employers large and small can apply for large cash incentivesdesigned to create more high-quality apprenticeship opportunities.

As part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, employers are being offered £2,000 for each new apprentice aged under 25 they hire, and £1,500 for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, up to the 31st January 2021. This includes taking on an apprentice who has been made redundant.

The new cash incentives for employers are in addition to the existing £1,000 payment for new 16-18-year-old apprentices, and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

The incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice is different to the apprenticeship levy and can be used on anything to support organisational costs, for example facilities, uniforms, apprentice’s travel or their salary.

Any organisation can apply for the payment, no matter the size or the sector. Applications must be made through the Apprenticeship Service, employers not currently registered will be able to set up an account.

The apprenticeships incentive is one of a number of skills offers for employers as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs.

11. IfATE Route Review workshops

Route Reviews determine the future of apprenticeships and technical education, and are set up to ensure the apprenticeship standards meet the Institute’s quality requirements and remain relevant and up to date for employers and apprentices.

The workshops will cover the apprenticeships which are in scope for the route reviews and discuss where improvements could be made. There will also be a discussion on the impact of COVID-19 on the route and working practices.

The Institute for Apprenticeships (IfATE) announced that Route Reviews would be restarting from 18 September 2020. The recommendations from the Hair and Beauty and Creative and Design route reviews will be launched later this year. Dates will be announced soon.

The following workshops to support the Institute’s route reviews have been confirmed.

The engineering and manufacturing workshop, run by Enginuity, will take place on Thursday 8 October from 11am to 3pm.

If you are interested in attending please email and you will be contacted by the organiser.

The workshops for agriculture, environmental and animal care, run by Landex, will take place on:

  • Monday 12th October 2020 – 11am to 3pm
  • Friday 23rd October 2020 – 11am to 3pm
  • Monday 26th October 2020 – 11am to 3pm

If you would like to attend any of these workshops, please email

Please visit the IfATE website for further information.

12. Support

The Business Support Helpline number in England is:

Freephone: 0800 998 1098

The helpline provides free, impartial business support and signposting services to businesses in England – which currently includes business advice on Covid-19.

You can also find free support, advice and sources of finance through your local growth hub or speak to an advisor on webchat about support for your business.

DfE coronavirus helpline: 0800 046 8687

ESFA Update: 7 October 2020

Latest information and actions from the Education and Skills Funding Agency for academies, schools, colleges, local authorities and further education providers.


ESFA Update further education: 7 October 2020

ESFA Update academies: 7 October 2020

ESFA Update local authorities: 7 October 2020

Items for further education
Reminderfunding claims 2019 to 2020 – final claim
Informationlatest Apprenticeship Service support webinars
InformationThe Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices – New YouTube Video
InformationFunctional Skills Assessments in apprenticeships
Information2021 to 2022 high needs place change notification process
Information16 to 19 tuition fund
Information2020 to 2021 Advanced Learner Loans Performance Management Point 1
Informationschool census post-16 reports
Informationgetting your school census data right
Items for academies
Information2021 to 2022 high needs place change notification process
Information16 to 19 tuition fund
Informationschool census post-16 reports
Informationgetting your school census data right
Informationreducing workload online events
Items for local authorities
Reminderfunding claims 2019 to 2020 – final claim
Reminder16 to 19 local authorities grant return and use of funds statement; process for 2019 to 2020
Informationschool improvement monitoring and brokering grant September 2020 to March 2021
Informationhigh needs place change notification process
Information16 to 19 tuition fund
Information2020 to 2021 Advanced Learner Loans Performance Management Point 1
Informationschool census post-16 reports
Informationgetting your school census data right
Informationreducing workload online events

Published 7 October 2020