Skip to Navigation Skip to Content
Back to blog

What are your rights to train?

October 24, 2017 featured image

Did you know if you work for a company with 250+ employees, you are entitled to ask for time off to train?

According to a recent survey, not many people are.

Take our survey

Government research

The government has just published (20th October 2017) an appraisal of the Right to Request Time to Train regulations.

Don’t know what that is?

The Right to Request Time to Train policy, gives employees of large business the right to request time off for study or training.

The government’s research on the policy examined the following:

  • how employers in different sectors and of different sizes understand the right
  • how many people have used the right
  • the processes and procedures followed by employees and employers to make and respond to requests
  • the perceived effect on employers’ investment in training and on employees’ ability to access it
  • potential effects of the policy if applied to small and medium sized enterprises

The research was commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

It was undertaken by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES).

Data was captured between 2012 and 2014.

Different levels of awareness

The research found that the levels of awareness of the Right to Request Time to Train amongst larger employers varied wildly based on:

  • Size of organisation
  • Sector of operation
  • General skills
  • Training cultures in the organisation

Employer Perspectives Survey data suggests only half of large employers have an awareness of the Right.

According to the research, as time goes on, employers become less aware of the Right.

They also found that Employers accuracy of understanding the Right was limited, even in those organisations who had reported being aware.


Low Take-up

Formal take-up of the Right amongst employees appears to have been low.

Some employers view the right as superfluous as larger organisations already have training review systems or training and funding agreements.

There is also an unwillingness to take unpaid time to train.

The report suggests that the Right has not facilitated significant additional training in organisations lacking a commitment to training staff.

However, when employees are aware of the report they are at least feeling more confident about discussing their training needs with their employer.

Should I get paid for training?

While employees are entitled to time off to train, they are not required to be paid to train by the employer unless the employer has their own “pay to train” scheme.

For SME’s

Most of you reading this will probably work for SME’s with only a few employees.

The research includes conclusions about how the Right could be rolled-out to SME’s.

In order for the Right to have a greater effect on employers’ investment in training and on facilitating additional access to training on part of employees any extension of the Right to cover SMEs would need to be accompanied by additional public interventions.

These could include high visibility promotional campaigns to further increase awareness amongst employers and employees, and/or the establishment of funding mechanisms to partly support the costs of employers’ investment in training.

With enough lobbying, it is possible that the policy could be extended to cover smaller business’s.

What should I do about this?

  • Employers and Employees should familiarise themselves with the Right to Request Time to Train.
  • Understand the details of the policy so that you know you have a right to ask for time off to train, and know that your job should be safe.
  • Employers should provide enough information about the Right
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your employers if they are aware of the Right.
  • Tell your friends about the policy and help raise awareness by sharing this post online.

We want to do our own research in a major survey about what employers and employees already know about the Right.

Take our survey

Whether you are an employee in a small company, a large company or an employer, we want to hear from you.

(function(t,e,s,n){var o,a,c;t.SMCX=t.SMCX||[],e.getElementById(n)||(o=e.getElementsByTagName(s),a=o[o.length-1],c=e.createElement(s),c.type=”text/javascript”,c.async=!0,,c.src=[“https:”===location.protocol?”https://”:”http://”,””].join(“”),a.parentNode.insertBefore(c,a))})(window,document,”script”,”smcx-sdk”); Create your own user feedback survey

If you want more of this sort of useful information, sent straight to your inbox – Subscribe here.

Newsletter Sign Up

For industry news, special offers and the latest from our centres, sign up to our mailing list

    Sign me up for the newsletter!