Workers soon to get right to ask to train

Employers are being reminded that new rules on the training rights of employees come into force in April.

As from 6 April, employers with 250 staff or more will be obliged to give serious consideration to requests from employees who wish to take time off to train.

Employees can ask for time to pursue training that will enhance both their own performance and that of the business. The nature of the training either can lead to an accredited, recognised qualification or it can simply improve skills that are relevant to the role of the employee or to the workplace.

Under the regulations, employers have 28 days in which to respond to a request, either accepting it and acknowledging so in writing, or meeting with the employee to discuss the issue, 14 days after which the employer must tell the employee in writing of the decision.

Employers can insist on changes if they agree to the request, such as switching the training in house or recommending an alternative course or qualification. Employers can also turn down a request for specific business reasons.

The right to request time off for training will include all employees as from 6 April 2011.