Small firms can recover the cost of employees’ salaries by taking part in the government’s £400m Train to Gain programme.
The scheme, which provides workers with skills training and vocational qualifications, will only be offered to employers which provide salary details to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), which launched the initiative in April.
Businesses that comply will then be able to claim back the employee’s wage but will not be reimbursed for tax, such as employers’ National Insurance contributions.
David Greer, director for Skills for Employers at the LSC, said the incentive would be open to businesses with less than 50 staff.
“We believe it will make a difference and if it works then we believe we will see a lot more of those small employers investing their own resources in training because they see the business benefits,” he said.
Employers which refuse to pass on salary details to the LSC will only be offered £5 per hour wage compensation.
“We have clearly designed this to focus as a priority on those employers and employees who don’t normally provide training or look for training,” Greer said.
The Train to Gain scheme has already been rolled out to 20 areas in the UK and will be rolled out to the whole of England and Wales from 1 August.