Time off for training regulations a mystery to one in five employers

More than one in five employers are unaware of new legislation giving employees the right to request time off for training, according to new IRS research, featured exclusively on XpertHR.

The legislation, which comes into force on 6 April, will allow employees with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service to request time off to undertake study or training to improve their effectiveness in the employer’s business and the performance of the employer’s business.

The procedures, which mirror the existing procedures for the statutory right to request flexible working, will initially apply to employers with more than 250 staff, with smaller employers covered from April 2011.

When asked whether they were aware of the new legislation, 78% of the 55 employers surveyed by IRS said yes, with 21% saying no.

Most of the employers believe the legislation will not have a significant impact on their organisation as they are already providing employees with ample training opportunities and have an inclusive approach to development, the research revealed.

Charlotte Wolff, XpertHR training and development editor, and author of the report, said: “Comments from the HR professionals surveyed indicate that most of the employers are not worried by the new legislation. Some even welcome the new right, saying it will raise the profile of training at their organisation.

“Issues might arise for some employers if employee requests relate to personal career development, but in most cases employers will be able to get round this by demonstrating a good business reason for refusal,” she added. “The downside would be, of course, if HR is having to spend extra time dealing with unwanted requests.”

For more analysis on the right to request time off for training, look out for our in-depth feature on PersonnelToday.com, published later this month.

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