Government urged to drop time to train regulations

The government should consider scrapping plans to give employees the right to ask for time off to train.

The call has come from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) at the start of a five-week consultation on the regulation.

As from 6 April, workers in businesses with more than 250 employees have had the right to request time to take up relevant training.

The entitlement is to be extended to smaller firms as from April of next year.

As part of its campaign to reduce regulation compliance burdens, the government has decided to conduct a review of the right to request time to train legislation and wants to hear the views of employers.

Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning Minister, John Hayes, said: “Before we make any decisions about the future of the right to request time to train, it is important that we gauge views of the regulation and whether it is improving training opportunities for employees. 

“We believe it is important that all regulations are properly scrutinised and we are therefore interested in hearing views on the future of this right and its role in promoting training in the workplace, which I see as vital to our economic success.

“I have asked my officials to ensure that this consultation is actively promoted to ensure that we get a broad range of views.”

In response to news of the consultation, the BCC insisted that the regulation should be dropped in its entirety because of the obligations it imposes on smaller firms.

These the BCC described as inappropriate, costly, and potentially confusing when they are combined with other legal obligations.

Adam Marshall, director of policy at the BCC, said: "Regulations such as these also provide yet another route to employment tribunal, allowing disgruntled employees an opportunity to threaten legal action due to paperwork and bureaucracy."

The BCC also wants to see proposals to introduce additional paternity leave, slated for next April, to be shelved until the government has firmed up its own plans for parental leave reform.

Dr Marshall added: "These decisions must be taken urgently so businesses have clarity over what their employment obligations are. Constant tinkering with employment legislation costs businesses money and distracts them from generating growth and creating jobs."

The consultation closes on 15 September.