Time to Train not being extended to SMEs
Following a consultation last year, Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning Minister, John Hayes has this afternoon announced that Time to Train will not be extended to small & medium businesses – those with less than 250 employees – from April.
The initiative, currently available to employees in larger businesses, works along similar lines to requests for flexible working: employees with at least 26 weeks service can apply for time off for training, with employers required to consider the request seriously, and hold a meeting with the employee if the request is not automatically agreed.
The Government believe this policy strikes a balance between the needs to support training with the need to minimise regulations for smaller companies, John Hayes saying:
“It is vital to the economy and individuals that everyone has access to the training they need. That is why we are investing in apprenticeships, protecting adult and community learning, and freeing colleges to respond to local needs.
“But it is vital that the right balance is struck between support for training and the need to minimise the burden of regulation for smaller companies.
“We have delayed implementation to allow further, thorough discussion, scrutiny and evaluation.”
Updated (July 2011): In their response to the consultation on the Future of Time to Train, The Government decided to retain the right for employees in large organisations – those employing 250 or more staff – but not extending the right for other staff in the “foreseeable future”.
An evaluation will be held to determine whether the current right for time to train should be extended to all staff; remain as it is now; or be abandoned entirely. This evaluation is expected to be available in time for any decision to allow any changes to be implemented for April 2015.