Employment Rights – Applications to undertake study and trainingThursday, August 19th, 2010
Since 6 April 2010, employers with 250 or more employees have been required to consider applications made by employees to undertake courses of study or training that will improve their effectiveness in the employer’s business, or improve the performance of the employer’s business. The requirements will be extended to all employers from April 2011. The legislation has not, as yet, been introduced into Northern Ireland legislation.
As part of the Coalition government’s review of regulations, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills has published a consultation document that seeks views on whether the right to apply for study and training should be
- repealed altogether,
- retained only for large organisations (i.e. those with 250 or more employees),
- extended to small and medium-sized organisations from April 2011, as already planned, or
- amended so as to be less burdensome for employers that already provide study and training opportunities and, if so, how it could be done without making the legislation more complex or limiting its force.
The arguments for retaining the policy relate to its intention to promote and support work-based learning and to promote training that delivers benefits for business. On the other hand, the provision has been criticised in respect of the costs involved, the potential for large numbers of employees to apply each year, and the effect on employers that already provide effective access to training.
The consultation period is limited to five weeks, ending on 15 September, so that the views of respondents will be available to the Cabinet’s Reducing Regulation Committee on 17 September. The Government’s response will be published in December 2010.