New Legal Right to Request Time Off for Training
From Thompson's (solicitors) website ...
Employees working in organisations that employ 250 or more people will, from 6 April 2010, have the legal right to request time off for studying or training. This will then be extended to all organisations from 6 April 2011.
To make a statutory request for “time to train” only employees who have worked for their employer continuously for at least 26 weeks will be eligible. This therefore excludes agency workers. And only certain types of training will qualify, although it includes anything that leads to a qualification or helps the employee develop skills relevant to their job.
There is, inevitably, a process that employees have to follow when making their request. For instance, it has to be in writing and must tell the employer what they hope to study, the qualification it would lead to and how they think it would make them more effective at work.
The employer must either agree to the request or arrange to meet with the employee within 28 days of receiving the request and then tell the employee what they have decided within 14 days of the meeting. This can be extended in certain circumstances.
As with a request to work flexibly, the employer must consider the request to train. And they can only turn it down if they have a good business reason for doing so - for instance, that it would not help the business, it would cost too much or would have a detrimental impact on their business performance.
If they do reject the request, they have to write to the employee, setting out the reason (which must be one of the reasons specified in the legislation). The employee must have the right to appeal the decision, but must do so within 14 days.
If that still does not resolve matters, they can involve a “third party conciliator” (like Acas) and ultimately make a tribunal claim, but this must be done within three months of the date of being told the request had been rejected.
It is worth noting that there is nothing in the regulations that requires a consenting employer to pay the employee when they are off, or even to pay for the training.
For more information, click here.