As part of its review of legislation, in order to reduce any unnecessary burden of regulation on businesses, the Government has carried out a consultation on the right of employees to request time to undergo training.
The right was introduced by the Employee Study and Training (Eligibility, Complaints and Remedies) Regulations 2010. It is currently available to employees in organisations with 250 or more employees but is due to be extended to all employees from April 2011.
Employees’ requests can be to undertake accredited training programmes that will lead to a qualification or for unaccredited training that will assist them to develop specific skills relevant to their job, workplace or business.
Employers are required to consider any requests and respond within a set timeframe. A request may be turned down if there is a good business reason for doing so, which includes where the employer does not believe the training will help improve business performance.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is reviewing the effectiveness of the right in improving training opportunities for employees, in order to determine whether the Regulations should be abolished completely, whether the right should apply only to employees of large organisations as it does now or whether it should be extended to employees of smaller businesses as currently planned.
The consultation closed on 15 September. The matter will now be considered by the Reducing Regulation Committee, the Cabinet ‘Star Chamber’ tasked with reducing regulation that is stifling business growth.