Unite, the UK’s largest union, is calling for a crackdown on what it considers to be another example of umbrella company abuse.
The union says it is seeing more and more payslips from workers in different sectors, not just construction, showing the apprentice levy being deducted from workers’ pay.
Under the apprentice levy, introduced in 2017, any company with a payroll of over £3m must pay 0.5% of its payroll costs to the taxman. This money is then hypothecated for apprentice training.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “The most unscrupulous umbrella companies and agencies are deliberately undermining the apprentice levy by forcing workers to pay something which is supposed to be their responsibility.
“In a double whammy not only are these companies offsetting what they should be paying they are potentially making a profit and lining their pockets through making deductions on the levy.
“The government must immediately look at this scam and introduce measures to prevent workers from being charged in this way. If the government fails to act, support and confidence in the apprenticeship levy will be further undermined.”