From 6 April 2010, employers with 250 or more employees will have to seriously consider an eligible employee´s formal request for time away from their core duties to undertake training, says Business Link.
Employees can request to undertake any training they think will improve both their performance and that of their employer.
The training can be either:
* Accredited, ie training that leads to the award of a recognised qualification
* Unaccredited, eg training to help them develop specific skills relevant to their job, workplace or business.
It does not matter how or where the training is delivered - it could be in the workplace, at home on their own or even abroad.
There is no limit on the amount of time employees can request. However, companies do not have to pay for the training or pay them for the time spent training - although they can do so if they wish.
Within 28 days of receiving a valid request, companies must either:
* Accept the request and inform the employee of your decision in writing
* Meet with the employee to discuss their request - and within 14 days of that meeting, inform the employee of your decision in writing
If needed, you can ask the employee for more information to support their request.
Companies may agree to their request, but with changes. For example, you could:
* Deliver the training in house rather externally as the employee had initially proposed
* Suggest a different course or qualification that you think would be better suited to the employee
Companies may only refuse outright an employee´s request for time to train for one of a set of specified business reasons.
The right to request will be extended to employees of all employers from 6 April 2011.
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