The Department for Business has recently issued a press release, announcing that the right to request time off work to train will not be extended to include all employees from April 2011.
When the statutory right to request time off to train was introduced in April 2010, it initially applied to employees who worked for organisations with a workforce over 250 employees, with a view to extending the right to all employees in April 2011. This provided an opportunity for employees to take unpaid time off work, not only to work towards a recognised qualification, but also to improve their job-based skills through industry-relevant training.
If an employer refuses to consider the request to take time off, then they could potentially be liable to pay compensation of up to 8 weeks pay.
In November 2010, the Government announced that any organisations with 50 employees or fewer would be exempt from having to provide this right to their employees. However despite recent developments in this area, the right to request time off work to train remains for those who work for larger organisations and employees may seek to take advantage of the right while they can.