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Time to Train Government Initiative - Take Off Work to Train!

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Time to Train: Your Right to Request Time Off Work for Training

Did you know that you may be eligible to have guaranteed time off work to improve your knowledge and skills?

Time to Train is a Government initiative designed to empower employees to request time off from work for training, with the ultimate goal of enhancing skills across the UK workforce.

The right to request time to train was included in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act, which received Royal Assent in November 2009.

It is based on the recognition that investment in skills is key to ensuring that the UK develops a stronger economy, while also encouraging individuals to make the most of their abilities.


Most importantly, knowing that they have the right to ask encourages employees to step forward, putting pressure on employers who don't train to think again, as well as helping all employees get a fair chance to improve their skills.

Under the 'time to train' right, employees are able to request different kinds of training, including:

  • training leading to a qualification
  • shorter non-accredited courses to develop skills relevant to their job, workplace or business
  • courses such as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

There is no limit on the length of the training, nor is there a requirement that it be completed on their employer's premises.

A number of conditions do need to be met for the request to be valid, as the right regards the ability to request training but does not necessarily guarantee that the opportunity will be granted. On the other hand, employers can say no, but need to show good reason and cannot arbitrarily reject requests.

Findcourses.co.uk has welcomed this new law since it came into effect on 6 April 2010, which is why we want to make sure that our users are aware of it and clear on how it works.

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Eligibility Criteria

Firstly, there are several criteria that staff must meet in order to benefit from the right to request time off for training.

They are the following:

  • staff must be classed as an employee (see who qualifies as an employee here)
  • they must work for an organisation with at least 250 employees
  • employees must have worked for the employer they are approaching for at least 26 weeks
  • the training must help the employee do their job better

It is important to note that the time off is likely to be unpaid, unless the employer specifically agrees to pay for it.

Those who can't request time off to train include:

  • agency workers
  • members of the armed forces
  • those of compulsory school age
  • those between 16-18 already expected to take part in education
  • young people who have already had paid time off for study or training

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Information Required

Though employees should follow their company's rules regarding asking for time off, a request under the Time to Trains scheme should generally be submitted in writing and include the following information:

  • A statement that the application is being made under section 63D of the Employment Rights Act 1996
  • The subject of the proposed training
  • The location and date(s) of the training
  • Who could provide or supervise it
  • What qualification it potentially leads to
  • How the training would enhance your effectiveness for the business
  • The date of the application

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Last updated: 03 Oct 2016

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