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From April 2010, if you have worked for your employer for more than 26 continuous weeks and your employer employs 250 or more employees, you have the right to request time off for training. 

What the Right to Request Time Off for Training means

 
  • It is the right to request time off for training relevant to the employer's business;
  • Employees may have to pay for the training themselves as employers do not have to pay for course fees, travel or training materials;
  • Employees may have to take unpaid time off for training as employers are not obliged to pay whilst employees are attending a training course;
  • Employers are not obliged to find a relevant training course for an employee.
 
The right to request time off for training does not cover:-
 
  • Training that is not relevant to the employer's business needs;
  • Training that is not relevant to your employment duties;
  • Training that completes a skill-set but is not essential for your employment role;
  • Training to assist you in changing careers, obtaining a promotion or expanding your current duties if it is not your employer's intention for you to take on extra duties.
 

How to make a Request for Time Off for Training

 
  • It's best to discuss your training needs with your employer first;
  • Check your employment contract or employee handbook to see whether you are expected to pay for course materials or course fees;
  • Check the course is suitable for you, covers your training needs and will enable you to do your current job better;
  • Put your request for time off for training in writing, stating:
    o        It is a request under 'Section 63D of the Employment Rights Act 1996';
    o        What the training is for and what qualification it will lead to (if any);
    o        Where and when the training will take place;
    o        Who is providing the training;
    o        How the training will make you more effective at work or help your employer's business
    o        Whether you have made a previous request and what date is was made
    o        If you do not include all the information above, your employer can refuse your request due to missing information;
  • Your employer should arrange a meeting to discuss the request;
  • You may bring a colleague or union representative to that meeting;
  • If your employer refuses your request for time off for training, your employer should tell you of your right to appeal.
 
Employers can refuse time off for training requests if the training is not relevant to the business, suitable training is not available, your employer cannot reallocate your work to colleagues to cover whilst you attend training or can show your absence would lead to a detrimental effect on customer service.
 

Appealing a refusal of a Time off for Training Request

 
Employees must appeal within 14 days of an employer's refusal to grant a request for time off for training.  Employees must appeal in writing with a date, setting out the grounds for appeal.
 
Employers must discuss an employee's appeal within 14 days.
 
If a time off for training request is refused, it is unlikely that you would have an employment tribunal claim unless your employer did not follow the procedure or you were refused on discriminatory grounds.  Employment Tribunals will not consider claims based on the merits of training.
 

Acceptance of a Time off for Training Request

 
If an employer accepts a time off for training request, they must put in writing:-
 
·         The subject of training;
·         When and where the training will take place;
·         Who will provide or supervise the training;
·         The qualification it will lead to (if any);
·         Whether the training time will be paid or unpaid or if the employer expects the employee to work flexibility;
·         Who will pay for the training.
 
Employers can decide to agree to part of a time off for training request but refuse another, e.g. if the employer is aware of a more suitable course or wants to change the time of the training.  Employers should give reasons for partial refusals and give employees the opportunity to appeal.
 
Employees must inform their employer if they do not start the training, stop attending the training course or do training that has not been agreed.  If employees do not attend training after a time off for training request has been agreed and fail to tell their employer, the employer can raise a disciplinary action.
 
If an employer discriminates against you for making a time off for training request or undergoing training agreed in a time off for training request, you may have an employment tribunal claim.
 
If you have had a request for time off for training refused and your employer did not follow the procedure, contact Ashley Hunt, Vaishali Thakerar or Carrie-Ann Randall on 0116 212 1000 now or complete one of the on-line forms for free initial advice. We also run a number of free walk-in advice clinics at our offices in Leicester, Wigston & Market Harborough.