14.01.10

New Right to Request Time Off for Training

Guidance published on the new right to request time off for training has been backed by industry.  From 6 April 2010, the right to request ‘time to train’ will apply to employees in businesses with 250 employees or more. This right will be extended to cover employees in all businesses from 6 April 2011.

The new right means employees will be able to request training on an accredited programme leading to a qualification, or unaccredited training to help them develop skills relevant to their job, workplace or business.

There is no limit for the length of time that the study or training may take, or the way in which the study or training is delivered.

Guidance published by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills on BusinessLink informs employers of their obligations 12 weeks before the right to request time to train begins on 6 April 2010.

Guidance is also available on the DirectGov website to inform employees about how to make a request under this new right.

For employers, the primary focus of ‘time to train’ is about relevant training for staff.

Employers will not be obliged to meet the costs of training (eg tuition fees) for employees.  And the new right does not require employers to pay for the training time.  (Instead, employees may be asked to work ‘flexibly’ to make up the time off spent studying or training.)

Skills minister Kevin Brennan said: “Now, more than ever, we need learning and training opportunities in place that empower people to gain the skills and training they need to get on. Many businesses and organisations are really good at training their staff and already recognise the benefits of having a highly skilled and motivated workforce. While two-thirds of businesses do train their staff, we need to encourage employers and employees who do not to speak about training opportunities.”

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