For the first time employees in companies of 250 workers or more will have the right to request time for study or training after legal changes came into effect this week.

Time to Train will give workers in businesses which employ more than 250 people the legal right to request time off to take up relevant training. The right will be made available to all employees from April 2011. This phased approach will give smaller organisations and businesses more time to prepare for the introduction of the new right.

Skills Minister Kevin Brennan said:

“We need to empower people to speak about training opportunities and the benefits they can bring to a business’ success.

“Many companies and organisations are very good at training their staff, but we need to make sure that all businesses are advising employees on what is on offer.

“This is where a regulation like Time to Train will be able to help people. It will give them the confidence to ask about training and skills, allowing them to take control of their own careers.”

The legal right will allow employees to request time to undertake relevant study or training that employers are required to consider seriously. The training should improve the employee’s effectiveness in their job and contribute to improved business performance and productivity. Employers are not obliged to approve every request – they can be turned down if there is a good business reason to do so.

The legislation was included in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act, which received Royal Assent in November 2009.

Guidance for employers on the new right was published in January and is available through Business Link. Guidance for employees has been made available on the DirectGov website.

Additional information:

1. The guidance for employers on the right to time to train is available on the Business Link website:
2. The guidance for employees on the right to time to train is available on the DirectGov website:
3. The right to time to train was brought in when the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act received Royal Assent on 12 November 2009. Press notice available to read here:
4. The right to time to train will apply across Great Britain – England, Wales and Scotland.