Time to Train – New Bill provides right to request time off for trainingMonday, February 16th, 2009
In June 2008, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) published Consulting on a new right to request time to train for employees in England. The intention is to give established employees, likely with 26 weeks’ service, a legal right to ask their employer to give them time away from their mainstream duties to undertake relevant training, which their employer would be required to consider seriously.
The working model for time to train would closely follow the one already in place for the right to request flexible working, making it easier for employers to work with the new right using the procedures they already have in place to manage flexible working requests.
The measures necessary to introduce this new right are included in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill, introduced to Parliament on 5 February jointly by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the Department for Children, Schools and Families.
The Bill will introduce new sections into the Employment Rights Act 1996, aimed at employees for whom statutory support for training is not provided in other legislation, such as the existing time off for study or training for young persons, and the coming obligation on 16 and 17 year olds to participate in education or training after reaching compulsory school leaving age.
The procedure to request time off will be similar to flexible working procedures already used to request a contract change to care for children. An application will be made by the employee to participate in training that would improve the employee’s effectiveness in the workplace and the performance of the employer’s business. The employer must consider the application seriously and make accept or decline it. Provisions will be made for meetings and appeals. Complaints may be made to employment tribunal in specified circumstances and employees are protected, as usual, from detrimental treatment or dismissal as a result of making a request or exercising any right under the arrangements.
Although the different countries of the UK have consulted separately on the proposals, the changes to the Employment Rights Act 1996 appear to indicate that the new right to request time off for training will apply throughout the UK.
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