Employees Now Have the Right to Request Training

For the first time, employees in Great Britain have the right to request time for study or training, following legal changes that came into effect on Tuesday.

Time to Train will give workers in businesses, which employ more than 250 people the legal right to request time off to take up relevant training. The right will be made available to all employees from April 2011. This phased approach will give smaller organisations and businesses more time to prepare for the introduction of the new right.

“We need to empower people to speak about training opportunities and the benefits they can bring to a business’ success,” says Skills Minister Kevin Brennan.

“Many companies and organisations are very good at training their staff, but we need to make sure that all businesses are advising employees on what is on offer.

“This is where a regulation like Time to Train will be able to help people. It will give them the confidence to ask about training and skills, allowing them to take control of their own careers.”

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The legal right will allow employees to request time to undertake relevant study or training that employers are required to consider seriously. The training should improve the employee’s effectiveness in their job and contribute to improved business performance and productivity. Employers are not obliged to approve every request – they can be turned down if there is a good business reason to do so.

The legislation was included in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act, which received Royal Assent in November 2009.

Guidance for employers on the right to time to train is available at: www.businesslink.gov.uk/timetotrain

Guidance for employees on the right to time to train is available at: www.direct.gov.uk/timetotrain

Columbus Dixon April 2010

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