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Thu 22nd Apr 2010

Employees Gain the Right to Ask for Time To Train


Recent government legislation has given employees the right to ask for Time To Train. This training must either lead to a qualification or be relevant to your job, business or workplace. The training should add value to both the employee and the employer and increase the employees effectiveness in the business and ultimately help improve the performance of the business.

The training could be to help improve your performance in your current job, something that will help you in a different area of the business or something that will help you progress in the business.

There are a number of different types of training that may be relevant under this legislation. For example you could request to take a book keeping course or a sales training course.

Any type of training can be requested by the employee. The training courses can be in house training or at a different place, supervised or unsupervised training, within or outside of the U.K., and for any length of time. Employees are advised to consider the affect that their training will have on the business. For example it is unlikely that an employer would want to release an employee for a long period over their peak season. Being reasonable and considered in your requests will increase the likelihood of their success. You are unlikely to be granted you request if you ask to do a wedding photography course when you are currently employed as a plumber!

Employers are not compelled to pay for the training, neither are they obliged to continue paying wages whilst training is being undertaken. Although of course they may choose to do one or both of these things if they can see that there will be a tangible affect on their business. For example undertaking a different social care course could make you able to take on more responsibility at work.  

The procedure for asking for time to train is as follows:

Firstly the employee must have worked continuously for the company for at least 26 weeks. If they have then they must use the correct format to put forward their request. It must be submitted in writing and contain specific information relating to the request:

A statement that the request is submitted under the 63D Employments Rights Act

  • The subject of the proposed training
  • Where and when the training would take place
  • Who would provide/supervise the training
  • What qualifications would be gained (if any)
  • The benefits to the business gained by completing the training
  • The date of the application
  • The dates of any previous application

The employer is obliged to respond in writing within 28 days. Any employee that fits the criteria may make one request in any 12 months. Some exemptions do apply. The employer is not obliged to accept the request, they may decline it if they have a valid business reason for doing so. The reasons include; a loss of productivity or quality, the training not improving the quality of the business or planned structural changes during the proposed training period. So if you think that your banking job is going to allow you to do a fitness instructor course you should probably think again!

There is an appeal process should the employee not agree with the reasons for the refusal.

Overall this scheme is going to be most beneficial for employees in large companieswho want to improve their skills and performance, this is why sales training courses are likely to be a popular choice. The legislation is not supposed to replace pre-existing structures that offer comprehensive training courses to staff or companies that have effective processes in place. It is aimed at companies that do not do this, so that staff can feel confident about asking for training without the fear of retribution.

The government are using this legislation to open the dialogue between employers and employees about the mutual benefits of staff training. During economically difficult times it is important to create a strong staff base to be able to weather the financial storm and to take your business into future.