Staff may have the right to request time off work for training or study.

To request the training or study:

  • staff must be classed as an ‘employee’
  • they must have worked for their employer for at least 26 weeks
  • training must help staff do their job better
  • at least 250 people must work in the organisation

Time off is usually unpaid unless the employer agrees to pay it.

Check someone’s employment status.

Who can’t request time off to train

Staff can’t ask for time off for training or study if they’re:

  • an agency worker
  • in the armed forces
  • of compulsory school age (‘school age’ in Scotland)
  • a young person who’s already got the right to take paid time off for study or training
  • 16-18 and already expected to take part in education or training

Requesting time off

Employees should follow their organisation’s rules to request time off. If there aren’t any they can write to them saying it’s a request ‘under Section 63D of the Employment Rights Act 1996’ with the following details:

  • the date
  • the subject matter of the study or training
  • where and when it would take place
  • who will be providing the training
  • the name of the qualification you could get (if any)
  • why you think this study or training will help make you do your job better and help your employer’s business
  • if you’ve made a request before and when

If all this information is not included an employer doesn’t have to consider your request.

You can normally only make 1 request every year.

The employer’s decision

The employer must either agree to the request or hold a meeting with the employee to discuss it within 28 days of getting the request. This might be longer if the person who deals with these requests is off when the request is sent in.

If the employer decides to hold a meeting about it they must make a decision within 14 days of it, unless the employee agrees in writing to extend this time.

The employer can only turn down a request if they have a good business reason.

Appealing a decision

Employees have the right to appeal if their employer refuses a request to take time off for training or study.

This must be made within 14 days of their employer’s decision.

The appeal must:

  • be in writing
  • be dated
  • set out why they’re appealing (the grounds for the appeal)

The appeal meeting

The employer has to arrange a meeting with the employee to discuss the appeal within 14 days of getting the appeal.

After the meeting, the employer must give their decision in writing within 14 days.

If the problem isn’t resolved

If an employee isn’t satisfied with the result of an appeal they can phone Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) for help and advice or raise a grievance.

Telephone: 0300 123 1100
Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1100
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm
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If this doesn’t work the employee could go to an employment tribunal if the employer:

  • didn’t follow the procedure properly
  • refused the request based on the wrong facts

Employment tribunal claims must be made within 3 months of an appeal decision.

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