With Mark Ellis

Q: What is this nonsense that I have heard about a new right for time to insist on taking time off to do training?

A: The snappily named Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (a name which has a ‘1984’ resonance about it) has launched a consultation on the proposed new right for employees to request time off for training. It is intended that employees will be given a legal right to ask to have time away from work to undertake relevant training.

The only requirement would be that training should help improve business performance and productivity. Employers will be required to take seriously any requests they receive!

It is proposed that employers will be required to deal with requests for training by following a very similar process to the current right employees have to request flexible working.

The flexible working regulations were generally considered to be lacking in any bite when they were first introduced because, if the process was followed correctly, it is a fairly straightforward matter to refuse a request without penalty.

However, it has become apparent that simply following the procedures does not necessarily protect employers from discrimination claims where there are refusals.

It is quite possible that the right to training (if introduced) could have similar repercussions.

Mark Ellis is an employment law solicitor and CEO at Ellis Whittham – Find out more www.elliswhittam.com

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