Queen's speech: Workers to get time off for training

David Woods , 04 Dec 2008


The Government plans to allow employees the right to request time off work to train.

The Queen's speech at the state opening of parliament stated the right to request would work in a similar way to employees having the right to request flexible working.

The Queen said: "My Government will bring forward a Bill to reform education, training and apprenticeships, to promote excellence in all schools, to improve local services for children and parents and to provide a right for those in work to request time for training."

CIPD chief executive Jackie Orme said: "The ‘light touch' right to request approach has worked well with flexible working for both employers and employees. But it is important we do not lose sight of the fact training is a two-way street. It is of benefit to the learner, but must also contribute to meeting the business needs of the employer. If this test is not met, the employer must be able to decline requests for training."

Further reading

The speech also included proposals to allow people a ‘statutory right' to an apprenticeship as a means of increasing the skills of the workforce and reducing the number of unemployed. Proposals were put forward to give unemployed people skills and prepare them to enter the workforce.

But Orme said: "We are concerned this could undermine employer support. Apprenticeships are valuable if they are designed to meet business needs. Employers are ready to offer apprenticeships if they meet these business needs and are being taken up by young people keen to improve themselves. But they should not be approached by apprenticeships as an ‘entitlement'. Youth unemployment will not be solved by a right to an apprenticeship."

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