Employees may be Granted Right to Request Training

Businesses may be forced to consider employee requests for time-off for work-related training under new regulations which could be introduced by 2010.

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) has launched a consultation on the new laws, which would give employees the right to request time-off work for training. The entitlement would be available to all employees after 26 weeks with their employer.

“We have still not persuaded every employer of the importance of skills,”

said Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills John Denham.

“A third of employers still don’t train their staff”.

“We need to find new ways to bring the drive for skills into every workplace and to every worker. This is why we are consulting on a new right for workers to request time to train.”

According to the DIUS, the new regulations would operate along similar lines to the right to request flexible working, which was implemented in 2003. Employers would be under no obligation to grant requests, as long as they could justify refusal on business grounds, but they would be expected to have a meaningful conversation with an employee who wanted training.

The training could be at any level and might be paid for by the employer, the employee or funded by the government.

The DIUS has predicted that the regulations would see an additional 300,000 people each year taking time off to acquire new skills.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) warned that small firms do not have the resources to allow staff to have time off work for extended periods.

“There will be serious implications for small firms that lose staff for any extended period of time,”

said FPB spokesman Phil McCabe.

“While larger companies are able to cover staff when they attend training courses, in a small business each member of staff is crucial. We want to see details of how this legislation would work in practice.”

“Obviously we do welcome better training, however, this is something that should be happening at the education stage in school or university. Many school leavers and university graduates are entering the workforce totally unprepared for life in the workplace.”

The consultation on rights for time to train is open until 10th September. Employers can contribute on the DIUS website.

Employees may be Granted Right to Request Training

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