Just over seven in 10 (71%) employees want the legal right to request paid time off for training, while 53% say they would be likely to use it, according to a YouGov survey by the TUC and Unionlearn, its learning and skills organisation.
The poll, of 2,857 workers, showed that workers aged 18 to 24 are the strongest supporters, with four out of five agreeing that ’employees should have a legal right to request paid time off for training’. Just under 60% agreed that ‘if there was a legal right to request paid time off for training I would ask for more training’.
The TUC/Unionlearn poll follows the government’s announcement in June that it would introduce a new right for employees to ask for training at work.
Those earning less than £5,000 and those whose salaries are between £25,000 and £30,000 are most likely – at 77% – to be in favour of the right, while those earning between £20,000 and £25,000 are most likely to use the right (62% would do so).
Of those with no formal qualifications, 76% support the right, and 56% of them said would be likely to use it. However, the TUC warned that low-skilled workers would be the least likely to receive training at work. It claimed only 9% of such employees took part in job-related training in the three months to the end of August, compared to 38% of graduates – based on its analysis of recent government statistics.
Women, at 75% of those polled, are stronger supporters of the right to request training than men, of whom 67% support, it although the poll showed there was no significant difference in the likelihood of them using the right.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘The government must ensure that any new right to request training is strong enough to make a genuine difference. Otherwise, the third of employers who refuse to train their staff will continue to shirk their responsibilities and overlook those that need training most. Meanwhile business groups will continue to moan about the lack of skills possessed by the UK workforce.’