Workers in England will be able to use a legal right to request time off for training under new measures unveiled by the government today.
Skills secretary John Denham has published a consultation into how the new right will work, initially outlined in the Gordon Brown’s draft Queen’s Speech in May, which he claimed will enable an extra 300,000 employees a year to receive skills training.
One-third of employers do not train staff and eight million employees receive no kind of training at all, government figures have shown.
It is thought the right to request time off for training would work similarly to the right to request flexible working in the UK, where employers can turn down requests as long as there is a valid business reason for doing so.
Denham said: “Investment in skills is key to ensuring we come through with a stronger economy and making sure individuals can make the most of their abilities. But we have still not persuaded every employer of the importance of skills.
“Employers that do not train run real risks with their businesses,” he continued. “Public services that do not train will struggle to provide the quality of service that the taxpayer expects.”
The new entitlement, which could be brought in as early as 2010 if the legislation passes successfully through Parliament, would apply to all employees with 26 weeks’ minimum service – currently 22 million employees.
The Time to Train consultation is open to all employers and employees in England and closes on 10 September.