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This Time off for Training Policy deals with employees' statutory right to request time off for study or training under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996).


Please note the statutory right under the Employment Rights Act 1996 to request time off for study or training only applies to employees (i.e. it does not apply to agency workers) and it only applies to employers with 250 or more employees.


Employees who work for an employer in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) that has more than 250 employees have a statutory right to request unpaid time off to pursue certain types of study or training.


In order to be eligible to request time off work for study or training employees:


  • must have worked for their employer for at least 26 weeks, as only employees with at least 26 weeks' continuous service are entitled to make a request for time off
  • the training or study must help employees in their job. The training must be for the purpose of improving the employee effectiveness at work and the performance of their employer's business, although it need not lead to a formal qualification
  • the employer must have at least 250 people working for them


Eligible employees who wish to request time off for work can make one written request a year; they have the right to discuss their request with the employer at a meeting, and a right to be accompanied by a colleague of their choosing. The employer must give one of a number of set reasons if it turns down the request (i.e. the employer can refuse a request if for example: the training wouldn't benefit the business, they wouldn't be able to meet customer demands, the additional cost to the business, they are unable to re-organise the work among other employees). There is also a right of appeal. The employee has no right to complain to a tribunal if the request is not granted, although they can complain if the employer fails to follow the procedure or tries to justify their decision on incorrect facts.


This Time off for Training Policy is intended to help employers comply with the statutory right to request time off for training under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996). This Policy should only be used for employers in Great Britain with 250 or more employees.


Please notethe ERA 1996 confers protection from detriment for making an application and makes it automatically unfair to dismiss an employee because an application has been made.


Eligible employees requesting time off work for study or training  must do so in writing, the information required to be included in a formal request is set out in section 63E(4) of the ERA 1996. In order to obtain the statutory protection, the employee's section 63D request must explicitly state that it is made under that section.


 The written request should include information such as:


  • the date of the request
  • the subject of the qualification (if any) the employee will gain
  • if they have made a request before and if so when it was made
  • how the training / study will help them do their job better and help their employer's business


Employers have 28 days from receiving the request for time off to accept the request and inform the employee of the decision in writing, or meet with the employee to discuss it. If the employer decides to hold a meeting a decision must be made within 14 days.


There is no right to have the request granted, however employees have the right to appeal if the employer refuses the request for time off for training or study. The appeal should be made within 14 days of the employer's decision. The appeal must be in writing, dated and give the reason for the appeal. The employer will need to arrange a meeting with the employee to discuss the appeal within 14 days of receipt of the appeal, the employer then has 14 days in which to make a decision and give it in writing to the employee.


Even if the request for time off is granted, the ERA 1996 does not give the employee a right to be paid. There is no specific right to be paid during any time off, and no right to have the employer cover the costs of study or training. However, employers have the option to decide to pay for the training and/or to pay the employee's wages or salary while they undertake it.


This Policy is in Microsoft Word format, written in plain English, easy to use and edit.