Coronavirus (COVID-19): Employer information and FAQs

​Victorian restrictions

While restrictions apply, some employers will cease or reduce their operations and may need to stand down their apprentices/trainees temporarily. 

  • During this period, employers are not required to submit paperwork to suspend their apprentice/trainees’ training contract. Employers may reconcile the disruption to the apprentice/trainees’ employment once work resumes by contacting their Apprenticeship Network provider.
  • We encourage employers to discuss their stand down arrangements with their apprentice/trainee and support them to continue any prearranged or additional training that may be available through their registered training organisation.
  • In some instances, apprentice/trainee training progress may be impacted by changes to their employment and training. We encourage employers to discuss  potential training contract extensions with their registered training organisation and their Apprenticeship Network provider.

For advice about employer obligations to apprentice and trainee wages and conditions during this period, please  see the Fair Work Ombudsman’s coronavirus sub-site:

If you require further help, please contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 or through their My account portal.

Who does what

We're monitoring how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affects employers, apprentices and trainees. We're collaborating with Commonwealth and state bodies to support the sector.

We regulate training contracts and the Victorian Department of Education and Training administers several programs to support apprentices and trainees.

The Commonwealth Government administers training contracts and employer incentives and is responsible for a range of new funding programs to support businesses and individuals during the pandemic.

Note: we can't advise employers about their eligibility for new funding programs to support businesses and individuals during the pandemic. For help, contact the Victorian or Commonwealth department providing the program.

Information and support

Before you make a decision about changing the training contract or conditions of employment, we recommend you:

  • talk to your Apprenticeship Network provider
  • check the latest advice from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The Fair Work Ombudsman's website explains changes to some awards to allow for flexibility during the pandemic:

For information about Commonwealth funding programs including the JobKeeper payment, see:

For more information about the Commonwealth's Supporting Apprentices and Trainees wage subsidy, see:

For information about Head Start apprenticeships and traineeships including program funding and delivery, contact a Head Start officer:

For information about your options for managing training contracts, see:

Support for apprentices and trainees

The DET website has information for apprentices and trainees who have been suspended or lost their job and need help. For more information, see:

Frequently asked questions from employers

​What is the difference between suspending and cancelling a training contract?

I don't have enough work for my apprentice/trainee at the moment. What are my options?

I have work for my apprentice/trainee, but the RTO has paused training. What should I do?

What can I do if I don't want the RTO trainer to attend my workplace, or my apprentice does not want to attend RTO training?

I have work for my apprentice/trainee, but they don't feel comfortable attending the workplace. What are my options?

I had to close my business permanently and can't continue to support my apprentice/trainee. What should I do?

I am a group training organisation or labour hire provider and I can't place my apprentice/trainee with a suitable host employer. What are my options?

What is the difference between suspending and cancelling a training contract?

  • Suspension means putting the apprenticeship or traineeship on hold. For apprenticeships, this needs to be by mutual agreement with your apprentice (or by order of the VRQA). Traineeships can be suspended by you or the trainee.

  • Cancellation means ending the apprenticeship or traineeship. For apprenticeships, this needs to be by mutual agreement with the apprentice (or by order of the VRQA). Traineeships can be cancelled by you or the trainee.

I don't have enough work for my apprentice/trainee at the moment. What are my options?

  • Consider the use of leave entitlements.
  • Reduce the number of hours of work for your apprentice/trainee and discuss options with your registered training organisation (RTO) to continue formal training.
  • Suspend the training contract and assist your apprentice/trainee in circumstances where they want to continue training with their RTO during suspension.  

I have work for my apprentice/trainee, but the RTO has paused training. What should I do?

  • Continue to employ your apprentice/trainee and provide on-the-job skill development until formal training resumes. Talk to your RTO about what additional training you can provide on the job.

What can I do if I don't want the RTO trainer to attend my workplace, or my apprentice does not want to attend RTO training?

  • Continue to employ your apprentice/trainee, supporting skill development on the job until your apprentice/trainee can resume training with the RTO. You should discuss this with your RTO and make interim arrangements for any additional on-the-job training that you can provide.
  • Talk to your RTO about what training may be able to be offered remotely.

I have work for my apprentice/trainee, but they don't feel comfortable attending the workplace. What are my options?

  • Discuss options with your apprentice/trainee to identify work that can be done safely until they can resume regular duties. Remember that work must remain relevant to the achievement of the apprenticeship/traineeship qualification. If there's not enough work that can be done safely to keep the apprentice/trainee fully employed, you may consider reducing their hours of work temporarily.
  • Suspend the training contract until your apprentice/trainee can return to work.
  • The suspended apprentice/trainee may still be able to attend their RTO for formal training and skill development. This may include training that's delivered remotely.

I had to close my business permanently and can't continue to support my apprentice/trainee. What should I do?

  • Contract your Apprenticeship Network provider for advice about options for your apprentice to cancel and recommence their apprenticeship/traineeship with a new employer.
  • Encourage your apprentice to continue training with their RTO where possible, whilst they are looking for a new employer.

I am a group training organisation or labour hire provider and I can't place my apprentice/trainee with a suitable host employer. What are my options?

  • Reduce the number of hours of employment for your apprentice/trainee and discuss options with your RTO to increase formal training until a placement becomes available.
  • Consider the use of leave entitlements.
  • Suspend the training contract and assist your apprentice/trainee if they want to continue training with their RTO during suspension.
  • In some circumstances, cancellation may be appropriate to allow the apprentice/trainee to consider alternative options for continuing their training.  

Note for employers

Applications to suspend a training contract should be made at a point where it is apparent that all options to keep an apprentice/trainee in work and/or training has been exhausted.

Contact us

If you are unsure about your options, contact us: