The right to request time off for training follows the same model used for considering requests for flexible working:
(i) the employee must initiate the request in writing; in order for the request for ‘time to train’ to be a valid request, covered by the legislation, it must be submitted in writing (in any format) and contain specific information which is detailed under “Requests/Applications” below
(ii) except where an application is going to be approved in full a meeting should be held with the staff member to discuss the application before a decision is reached
(iii) there is no obligation to grant paid time off, or pay for the costs of any training: the employer may grant unpaid time for training, or arrange for the employee to make up the time
(iv) requests may refused on business grounds
(v) applicants must receive a written response within 28 days of receipt of the application (or if a meeting is held, within 14 days of the date of the meeting
(vi) if an application is rejected employees have 14 days in which to appeal
All staff who have at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment with the University.
Requirements of the scheme
To be covered by the Employment Rights Act requirements, time off for training requests must:
- be made in writing (any written form)
- be dated
- include a statement that the application is made “under section 63F of the Employment Right Act 1996”
- describe the subject matter of the proposal training
- explain where and when the training would take place
- state who would provide or supervise the training
- confirm what qualification (if any) the training would lead to
- explain how the employee thinks the training would improve their effectiveness at work, and the performance of their department or equivalent
- give the date and method of the last application that they have made (if any)
How many applications can an individual make?
Employees may make one formal request, as outlined above, in any twelve month period but each application may request more than one type of training.
What sort of training can be requested?
The individual should believe that the training will improve their effectiveness at work, and therefore the training should be work-related. This might include an accredited programme which leads to a formal qualification, or unaccredited skills-related training. The training can take place anywhere (including outside the UK) and be of any length, and individuals may request more than one type of training in a single request.
What happens if the individual withdraws the request or the agreed training is cancelled?
An employee may withdraw a request, or may be unable to take up a training opportunity for reasons beyond their control. In such cases you should consider any additional requests as though the original request had not been made.
What about the requests for training which have not been made in the prescribed format?
Requests made through usual departmental channels (for example, arising from a discussion between individuals and their line manager at a PDR) should continue to be dealt with through normal departmental procedures. Only requests received in the format outlined above should be responded to through the formal routes outlined in these pages.
If an individual makes a formal ‘time off for training’ application but the application does not meet all the criteria of the scheme, you should explain to the applicant how the application falls short and allow them to re-submit their application.
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