Loophole in ‘time off to train’ legislation
The right to request ‘time off to train or study’
now applies to all employees in businesses with 250 employees or more and will
extend to cover employees in all businesses from 6th April 2011. While the
right has been publicised as ‘time off’, the actual wording means that a
request can be made purely to fund study or training outside of work hours – it
does not necessarily have to involve a request to take time off work.
While the previous Government introduced new S. 63D
of the Employment Rights Act 1996 as the right to take time off for training,
there is no actual reference to ‘time off’ in the statutory provisions. The
right is a ‘Statutory right to make a
request in relation to study or training‘ and goes on to state that the
application must be made for the purpose of enabling the employee to undertake
study or training (or both) to improve (a) the employee’s effectiveness in the
employer’s business, and (b) the performance of the employer’s business.
A strict reading of
the legislation therefore reveals that there is no actual requirement for time
off at all. The statutory right is to ‘to make a request in relation to study
or training’ which can incorporate a request for just funding, not time off, as
confirmed by a spokesperson for the BIS prior to the election who stated that
if a request is for funding only, that can be considered as within the scope of
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