From education to employment

Government welcomes new employee right to train out of work

Employees have a legal right to take time off for study or training for the first time from today.

Legal changes mean businesses employing more than 250 people must seriously consider requests from workers wishing to undertake relevant study or training.

The measure will be rolled out to all employees from April 2011, giving smaller organisations more time to prepare for the Time to Train 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.”

Employers are not obliged to approve every request, and the training must improve business performance and productivity, but a good reason must be given if they choose to reject time off for study.

Tom Wilson, director of unionlearn, the training organisation of union TUC, told FE News readers yesterday that two-fifths of employees are considering using the right to train.

Guidance for employers on the new right is available through Business Link. Guidance for employees can be found on the DirectGov website.

Jason Rainbow

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