Right for employees to request training: Guide for managers


From 6 April 2010, employees have a new right to request make requests to undertake any training which they believe will improve their effectiveness in the business, and the performance of the business.

The new right follows the statutory model used for agreeing requests by parents and carers for flexible working. An employer is required to consider any requests and respond within a set timeframe. This guide ensures that managers in the University comply with the new legal requirements. The potential consequences of failing to comply are summarised below.

The University already has arrangements in place for employees to submit training requests. Ideally, requests for training should be discussed as part of the Performance and Development Review (PDR), at induction (for new staff) and at other times during the year when staff take on new roles and projects. The new arrangements covered by this guide supplement these existing arrangements to ensure that the University meets its statutory responsibilities under the new legislation. It is not necessary for all requests for training to be submitted under the statutory procedure.

The University can turn down requests when there is a good business reason to do so, including where it does not believe the training will help improve business performance, provided that the procedure detailed in this guide is followed.

Consequences of failing to comply with the statutory requirements

An employee may make a complaint to an employment tribunal where:

  • the decision to reject an application was based on incorrect facts (although this issue should be covered in the appeal meeting); or
  • the University did not follow the correct procedure, eg the University did not hold the meeting to discuss the request within the correct timescale or did not provide a complete and proper explanation to the employee of the decision to refuse their request.

An employee cannot make a complaint because they simply disagree with the business grounds given by the University.

An employment tribunal can order the University to (either or both):

  • pay an award to the employee (up to a maximum of eight weeks' pay, subject to the statutory cap on a week’s pay, which is currently £380);
  • reconsider the request by following the procedure correctly.

In some circumstances, rejecting an employee's request for time to train could open up the possibility of a claim for discrimination on grounds of sex, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age or a claim for less favourable treatment under the fixed term or part-time worker regulations.

An employer must not treat an employee detrimentally or dismiss them for a reason relating to their request for time to train.

Summary flowchart (from BusinessLink)