MOT Furlough. Your questions answered.
Can MOT testers do their mot training whilst on furlough? Are you an MOT tester on furlough? Are you an employer of MOT testers who have been furloughed? Do you have any questions regarding MOT tester annual training? Will completion of MOT tester training compromise furlough payments?
Read on to find out the answers to these questions and more.
What is furlough?
Last month, Chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Under the scheme, employers can place employees on temporary leave because they’re unable to operate or have no work available due to COVID-19 – this is known as being ‘on furlough’.
80 percent of employees’ salaries up to £2500 per month is covered by the government. This scheme has just been extended until 30th June, so employees could potentially be furloughed for the entire first quarter of the DVSA training year.
For guidance relating to the rules around furloughing, and permission for furloughed employees to engage in training – Government Guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Can MOT Testers complete training whilst furloughed?
Yes! Though employees are not able to work whilst on furlough, they are able to undertake training, as long as they’re not:
- making money for their employer or a company linked or associated to their employer.
- providing services to their employer or a company linked or associated to their employer.
My employer says I should not complete any work-related tasks whilst furloughed. Would I be breaking the government’s rules by completing MOT training?
No. As discussed above, government guidance is clear that you are permitted to complete this type of training.
Furthermore – though your organisation may pay for your training and assessments, and your AEDM has statutory responsibilities in ensuring all employed NTs complete this training, your individual testing status is not related to your current employer.
You are authorised to test by the DVSA, who administers the MOT Service on behalf of the DfT and the Secretary of State. They are the only ones with the authority to give you approval to test, and it is they who are able to remove this approval. If you left your place of employment, you would still be an NT, authorised to test vehicles elsewhere. The mandatory tasks required to maintain your NT role are your responsibility, not your employer’s.
For more information on the DVSA & Secretary of State’s role in approving MOT Testers, and responsibilities required to maintain this approval – MOT Testing Guide
However, we do not recommend that you just disregard your employer’s instructions. Instead, we recommend that you try to reach a mutual agreement with them. It might be helpful to send them a link to this blog, so they can read it and check out the links through this page. This should reassure them that you are allowed to complete annual training whilst furloughed, and encourage them to consider the numerous benefits of allowing this.
I am an employer/ AE, and have told my testers that they should not complete any training whilst furloughed. Is it not best to maintain this policy, to be on the safe side?
We hope that this blog and the links at the bottom of the page will reassure you that MOT tester training is permitted whilst furloughed. The government’s concerns around the mental health impact of the lockdown may be a factor in their confirmation and clarity relating to the rules around training whilst on furlough.
The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) has found that supporting employees’ mental health is the most common challenge for employers during the coronavirus crisis. Keeping the brain active is a proven way of increasing psychological wellbeing, so every caring employer should be encouraging their workforce to do so.
CIPD research on employer concerns around employee mental health – “Two-thirds of employers say supporting staff mental health and well-being is one of their main challenges during coronavirus crisis”
There are a number of other benefits related to your testers completing their training now, whilst remaining safely at home. Participating in training will keep your staff motivated and engaged, which is likely to improve employee wellbeing.
If you and your management team are not furloughed, you will be able to oversee and communicate with your workforce remotely using our system. By completing their training now, your testers will not have to spend time out of the workshop later in the year. All of these benefits make it much more likely that your team will be able to ‘hit the ground running’ when your business reopens.
Lawgistics article on both the legislation, and the psychological benefits, relating to training whilst on furlough: “COVID-19: Keeping your staff’s skills sharp”
What have the DVSA said about tester training in relation to the COVID-19 crisis?
On the 30th March, the DVSA released a Special Notice providing guidance to MOT testers in relation to COVID-19. In it, they state that they have extended the training year for 2019-20 until the end of April. They encourage testers to do their annual training and assessment via distance learning during this period.
They have not said that they will be relaxing the rules relating to training & assessment for furloughed testers. From this, we presume that the usual rules apply – MOT tester status will be suspended if the mandatory training & assessment is not completed.
OK – you’ve convinced me! How can you help?
For our existing clients we recommend to confirm with your employees that they are permitted (and encouraged) to complete their training throughout their furlough period. Some testers have informed us that they have received mixed messages from their employer in relation to this, so clear communication is very important.
For more information on how best to utilise the MOT Juice system throughout these unprecedented times – “Lockdown for MOT Testers – How to Survive and Thrive During the Coronavirus Crisis and Beyond”
Try out our internal messaging centre, so you are able to easily communicate with your testers throughout this period.
Just get in touch and we will be happy to set this up for you.
If you are not yet a client, but feel it is an ideal time to implement our system and enable your testers to complete their annual training whilst furloughed, please give our sales team a call on 01293 911120 so we can talk over how best we can support you & your team.