Covid-19 Information for employers of apprentices and trainees (FAQs)

TSNSW extends its support to all whose lives have been impacted by COVID-19, directly or indirectly. Please continue to stay safe and inform the Department on any matters that have the potential to impact you and/or the communities and businesses that you support.

TSNSW's regional and metropolitan offices are able to provide support and information to organisations employing apprentices and/or trainees. Please call 13 28 11.

80% Roadmap

How does the 80% Roadmap effect my SBAT, Apprentice or Trainee?

70% Roadmap

How does the 70% Roadmap effect my SBAT, Apprentice or Trainee?

Frequently asked questions

General questions

SafeWork Australia and the NSW Government have developed a range of helpful support documents for Training Providers and Businesses to support the safe re opening of their business.
These include;

Please contact us on 13 28 11 and one of our staff will assist you.

Options may include:

  • Your apprentice or trainee can proceed on paid leave.
  • Your apprentice or trainee could move from full time (FT) to part time (PT).
  • You could suspend the apprenticeship or traineeship.
  • Host out your apprentice or trainee to another employer for part of the time.
  • If formal training has been completed, consider completion of the apprenticeship/traineeship.
  • Cancellation of the apprenticeship or traineeship.

For available Australian Government assistance for businesses please see: www.business.gov.au/risk-management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and-support-for-business

For available NSW Government Assistance for businesses please see: service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/covid-19-help-businesses/grants-loans-and-financial-assistance

You can also call us on 13 28 11 to explore how we can help support you and your learners.

In the first instance, speak to the training organisation to see if they can change their training or assessment modes.

If not, you can look for an alternative RTO that can deliver on-line.

If the training or assessment needs to be suspended, then please call us on 13 28 11

Where possible and appropriate, you MUST allow your apprentice or trainee to participate in formal training, and that training MUST occur during paid work hours.

In the first instance, speak to the training organisation to see if they can change their training or assessment modes.

If not, you can look for an alternative RTO that can deliver on-line.

If the training or assessment needs to be suspended, then please call us on 13 28 11

Where possible and appropriate, you MUST allow your apprentice or trainee to participate in formal training, and that training MUST occur during paid work hours.

Supervisory requirements for ANY apprentice or trainee to work from home (or elsewhere) should be considered on a case by case basis, taking into account such factors as:

  • Age of learners and previous industry experience eg. A school aged apprentice vs 50 yr old person doing frontline management
  • Vocation being undertaken eg. business vs avionics
  • Functions being undertaken eg. simple vs hard/technical/ high risk
  • Level of apprenticeship or traineeship eg. Diploma vs Cert II
  • Stage of apprenticeship or traineeship eg. 1st month of 1st year vs 3rd year

You need to consider these and other issues, including Duty of Care and OH&S obligations, when making this decision.

You must also meet your on the job training obligations when considering these arrangements.

You do NOT need to let the Department know about a change in training address.

Yes, Barranggirra – Skilling for Employment provides end to end support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners through culturally appropriate mentoring to ensure successful retention and completion of training and improved post-training employment outcomes. This service will remain open throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Information regarding support through Barranggirra and contacts in your local area can be found here.

For further assistance email TSNSW.Aboriginal.Initiatives@det.nsw.edu.au

Completions

If there has been a delay with the delivery of formal training, and your apprentice or trainee is unlikely to complete their training or assessments within the remaining term of the Training Contract, you and your learner can request an extension of term.

However, to reduce unnecessary paperwork we suggest that you wait to review the need for an extension until the last six months of the nominal training term. This may give time for your learner to catch up on their training before the end of the Training Contract. If you and your learner decide to proceed with a term extension request immediately, it will be assessed on a case by case basis by your Training Services NSW centre.

To request an extension to the apprenticeship or traineeship term, please complete a variation request form and submit to Training Services NSW. If you have any questions, please call us on 13 28 11.

Yes. If you wish to delay this endorsement for whatever reason, speak to your RTO.

Suspensions

Options include:

  • Your apprentice or trainee can proceed on paid leave
  • You could move your apprentice or trainee from full time (FT) to part time (PT)
  • You could host out your apprentice/trainee to another employer for part of the time
  • You could implement a short or long term suspension of the apprenticeship/traineeship.

To suspend an apprenticeship/traineeship, you need to complete and lodge a Suspension request form signed by BOTH you and your apprentice/trainee. You may request a suspension of up to six months. If you are planning to suspend the apprenticeship/traineeship for less than four weeks you do not need to let us know.

If circumstances change, the suspension can be lifted at the request of you

You can apply for a short or longer term suspension of your apprenticeship/traineeship at any time.

You may request a suspension of up to six months.

If you are planning to suspend the apprenticeship/traineeship for less than four weeks you do not need to let us know.

To suspend an apprenticeship/traineeship for four weeks or longer, you need to complete and lodge a Suspension request form signed by BOTH you and your apprentice/trainee.

If circumstances change, the suspension can be lifted at the request of you and your apprentice/trainee at any time by letting us know.

If you have any questions about the above, please call us on 13 28 11.

If there has been a delay with the delivery of formal training, and your apprentice or trainee is unlikely to complete their training or assessments within the remaining term of their apprenticeship or traineeship, you and your learner can request an extension of term. However, we suggest that you wait to review the need for an extension until the last six months of the nominal apprenticeship/traineeship term.

To request an extension to the apprenticeship or traineeship term, please complete a variation request form and submit to Training Services NSW. If you have any questions, please call us on 13 28 11.

Generally yes. For further information regarding available assistance and eligibility see Commonwealth Government financial assistance.

Generally, they will not be asked to produce evidence of being stood down or terminated. However, if required, you should provide a letter or some other form of evidence.

Note: They DO NOT require a letter to indicate that the apprenticeship or traineeship has been suspended or cancelled. A training contract status has nothing to do with eligibility for Commonwealth Government financial assistance. It’s all about employment status.

Yes. Please contact us on 13 28 11 for assistance.

Maybe. You need to have a good reason for this request. You must ensure that your legal and contractual obligations are met and you may need to employ the “employee” under different rates of pay/conditions once the apprenticeship or traineeship arrangement is suspended. If you are looking to do this, we suggest you seek advice from FairWork Australia first. Our staff will consider your request on a case by case basis.

This flexibility is only available during COVID-19 to meet immediate management needs and to keep as many people in employment as possible. This provision WILL NOT be available under normal circumstances.

Training Plans

Yes. You should still get a Training Plan within 12 weeks of approval of the apprenticeship or traineeship unless your apprenticeship or traineeship has been suspended.

Yes. You should get an updated Training Plan showing your apprentice/trainee’s progress at least every six months unless your apprenticeship or traineeship has been suspended.

Employment changes

Yes. They can continue to do their funded formal training with their approved Smart and Skilled RTO while they look for another employer.

You have two options:

Option 1. Temporary change from Full Time to Part Time

For the period up to 31 October 2021 , if there is not enough work to employ your apprentice or trainee full time, you and your apprentice or trainee may agree to move to a part time arrangement. This arrangement must be temporary in nature and be agreed by both you and your apprentice or trainee. Note, remaining hours must meet minimum Part Time hour requirements. No formal advice to the Department is required for this temporary change.

OR

Option 2. Variation

If the change is of a more permanent nature, you and your apprentice/trainee will need to complete and submit a variation request form. If you have any questions contact us on 13 28 11.

Training changes

NSW reaches 70% Double Vaccination

From Monday 11 October 2021:

  • Online delivery is still encouraged
  • Face to face training can be delivered for critical skills where this cannot be done online
  • Please contact your training provider to discuss your options.

NSW reaches 80% double vaccination

  • Face to face training can be delivered for critical skills and practical training and assessment that cannot be done online.
  • Please contact your training provider to discuss your options.

Changes from December 1 2021

  • Face to Face training can return for both vaccinated and unvaccinated learners
  • Return of full workplace assessment and training can occur in compliance with the NSW Public Health Order.

For the period 1 April 2020 to 31 October 2021, if this is a temporary change in delivery mode in response to COVID 19, you do NOT need to apply for a variation. However, this change should be reflected in the next update to the Training Plan.

If this is a permanent change, you need to complete a variation request.

Apprentices and trainees working and/or studying in other State/Territory

Please visit COVID-19 Information on the Canberra Institute of Technology’s (CIT) website for the latest update.

You and your apprentice/trainee should talk to CIT about whether the training can continue to be delivered by an alternative mode of delivery e.g. online.

If CIT is NOT able to provide training by another mode, you may need to find another RTO that can deliver your training.

If formal training cannot be delivered by CIT or an alternative RTO, training may need to be temporarily deferred.

Reminder, any formal training, whether it be in the classroom, on-the-job, or on-line, must be undertaken, with pay, within normal work hours.

If you have any questions, please call us on 13 28 11.

From 1am Monday 13 September 2021, travel for essential work and essential purposes, between the New South Wales border zone and Queensland will be allowed*.

If your apprentice or trainee, lives in or around the NSW–Queensland border, and is required to cross the Queensland border for training or work, rules and restrictions apply and they should seek further advice through the NSW interstate travellers and Queensland Government COVID-19 website.

Your apprentices and trainees must complete the Queensland entry pass in the 3 days before travelling to Queensland.

As soon as practicable, they must return to New South Wales following TAFE training. They are not permitted to remain in Queensland beyond purpose.

While in Queensland, you must comply with the stay at home and mask wearing requirements,

*Please note, this advice may change subject to any updated Public Health Orders.

School based apprentices and trainees - General

SBATs will be able to complete their days after 31 December of the HSC year.

For school based trainees (SBT), you and your SBT will need to seek an extension of term to allow for these required days.

For school based apprentices (SBA), your SBA will need to complete these days after 31 December of their HSC year, and before they commence Stage 2 of their apprenticeship.

Yes.

Vaccinations

Workers in regional areas who have received one vaccination dose will be permitted to return to their workplace from October 11 and will be given a grace period until November 1 to receive their second dose.

Regional areas are those outside Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Shellharbour and the Central Coast.

The rules in the new NSW Public Health Orders place obligations on workers, not employers. However, as an employer of a relevant worker, you can request evidence of compliance with the Public Health Order when the worker enters your workplace. You can request evidence of vaccination from your employee where appropriate.

You should also consider your obligations under work health and safety legislation. Further information is available through Safe Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman.

If your Apprentice/Trainee cannot change their first appointment to a time before the NSW Public Health Order mandated date, they must:

  • Advise you that they will not be able to attend their place of work because they will not be vaccinated in accordance with the NSW Public Health Order:
  • Advise when they will meet the requirement to have a first vaccination;
  • Discuss whether their duties can be carried out from home while they await their first vaccination; or
  • Whether they can be placed on alternative duties away from your worksite.

They will need to obtain a medical certificate from a medical practitioner in the form approved by the NSW Chief Health Officer that certifies that because of a specified medical contraindication, they cannot have a COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information visit: COVID-19 vaccination for workers | NSW Government.

Workers may be exempt from the vaccination requirement if they have a medical certificate from a medical practitioner in the form approved by the NSW Chief Health Office that certifies that because of a specified medical contraindication, the person cannot have a COVID-19 vaccine.

Visit: COVID-19 vaccination for workers | NSW Government for more information

If your Apprentice/Trainee falls under the requirements of the NSW Public Health Order but has not had at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or has not obtained a medical contraindication certificate, they will not be able to attend their workplace.

Further information on COVID-19, health and safety and vaccinations in the workplace is available from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

From the NSW Public Health Order mandated date, where requested, a worker must show:

The following people may request evidence of vaccination status:

  • The Apprentice/Trainees employer,
  • The occupier of the Apprentice/Trainees place of work,
  • A police officer, or
  • An authorised person (under the NSW Public Health Act 2010).

There is no requirement under the NSW Public Health Order for an employer to collect details of an employee’s vaccination.

Employers should consider their obligations to employees under Australian law. Further information is available from the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

No, there are no penalties set out in the NSW Public Health Order to an employer for not checking the vaccination status of an employee.

Related links:

Return to top of page Back to top