Employees now have the right to request time off for training

15 June 2010

It makes good business sense for organisations to provide their employees with the right training and tools to help them perform well in their roles, but this doesn’t always mean that training is provided. Some organisations view training as a distraction and dislike the fact that their staff are away from the desks when they could be working.

However, since April, employees now have the right to request time off for training thanks to the ‘Time to Train’ legislation. This new law affects 11 million UK workers in England, Scotland and Wales. Organisations that have more than 250 staff have to comply, while the legislation could also apply to organisations with fewer numbers from April 2011.

Under the ‘Time to Train’ legislation, employers have to ‘seriously consider’ a formal request from employees for time away from their core duties to undertake training. The employees must have given a minimum of 26 weeks service to be eligible.

Some key facts for employers

  • There is no limit on the length of time that can be requested, but employers are only required to consider one request within any 12-month period
  • Employers are NOT obliged to pay for the training or to pay for time spent training by the employee
  • An employee who experiences a breach of regulations can claim compensation of up to a limit of eight weeks’ pay, capped at £380 per week
  • The law provides clear guidelines on the schedule and process for how employers respond to requests. It is essential that employers familiarise themselves with this process

What do employers need to know?

  • Ensure you have a procedure in place to deal with all requests for time off for training
  • You will need to communicate the procedure or policy to all line managers and employees to ensure they know what to do and how to comply
  • If you are a manager or line manager ensure all requests for training are fully considered in line with the time scales outlined
  • Employers can only refuse an employee’s request for time to train outright if it is one of the outlined business reasons e.g. training doesn’t improve the employee’s performance in the organisation
  • Ensure your training programmes deal with specific skills and requests from employees that also match the needs of your organisation
  • Regularly review training programmes, ensure they are up to date and still appropriate

If you already deal with all training requests and your people development is aligned to organisational objectives, then no major changes are needed. However, the new law presents an opportunity to review how you currently deliver training and support performance organisation-wide.

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TSW Training Ltd
01656 644300

Fairwood House
Rhyd Lane
CF32 9PW

TSW Training has been established for over 40 years and has become one of Wales’s leading commercial and vocational training providers.

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