From 6 April 2010, employees will have the right to request time to train. Although this right does not come into force until then, the Government has published guidance for both employers and employees. The information informs employers of their obligations should an employee request time to train and provides employees with guidance relating to making a request.

Whilst this is an interesting development I would be surprised if this significantly changes things from an employee's perspective. As indicated it is a right to request time to train rather than a right to have time off to train. In addition, if a request is granted there is no obligation on the employer to meet the training costs. I also understand that if the training is "off the job" then there is no obligation to meet salary payments during the time away. For this reason my own view is that this will have a relatively limited impact given that if an employer is minded to agree to a training request then they are likely to do so irrespective of whether there is a procedure in place which allows an employee to make such a request. Time will tell though.

The right to request time to train will only apply initially to employees working in organisations with 250 employees or more. The right will be extended to organisations throughout Great Britain, regardless of size, from 6 April 2011. This will give smaller organisations the opportunity to ensure procedures are in place to comply with the right. The process to be followed is similar to the flexible working request process.

It is worth noting that employees have the right to request time to train only; they are not afforded the right off to train. Employers can refuse a request should they have reason to do so.

Please follow the links below to be redirected to the guidance:

Guidance for Employers

Guidance for Employees