back to article to scrap new staff training rights

The coalition has today announced plans to strip workers of new rights to request time off to improve their skills. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said the move will help reduce the regulatory burden on employers. If implemented, 11 million workers will lose statutory protection for their training requests …


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  1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Cynical? me?

    The Institute of Directors, which lobbied against the new rights, branded them "unnecessary, poorly thought through and damaging".

    In the next breath, he bitterly complained about the lack of trained UK workers and asked for visa waivers so he could import workers from abroad who'd work 70 hrs for 40 hrs pay

    1. Gill Bates

      Cynicism is the new realism..

      I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment of your post. while I'm not sure of the tax laws involved, I do see a workaround:

      1, pay your own training costs and do the training in your own time

      2, make sure everyone in your organisation from cleaner to CEO knows you paid for your own training out of your own pocket, done in your own time

      3, claim the costs incurred back from the IR by means of self-assessment tax return - if it's a business expense it should work.

      the upshot of this is that you'll keep your job and your money whilst the economy is invigorated by having more people working at the Revenue processing tax returns.

      1. Puck

        re: Cynicism is the new realism..

        I was in this situation, and it didn't work-Inland Revenue turned me down for tax relief for my course expenses. However, I was doing a more glamorous course than my job needed (CIMA-chartered management accountancy, far more interesting and inspiring than the accounting technician qualification which my bosses had actually offered me expenses paid for by a conditional loan).

        It's a tricky one, this-in order to claim from the Inland Revenue (and you should check this before starting the course), the training is supposed to be necessary for you to actually undertake your present job. Which is weird, because it seems to imply being in a traineeship, rather than being somebody who is simply trying to improve their present lot. And traineeships are as rare as hen's teeth.

    2. No, I will not fix your computer

      £500m can't be sniffed at (even if it's pretend money)

      The rights allowed an employee to request unpaid leave to study so if you're contracted for 40 hours and only do 35 then you lose 1/8th of your money, as this only affected companies of 250+ employees; if 15 employees do it the company will need to employ another couple of people with (almost no) overhead apart from recruitment and management which should be subsumed in normal processes.

      The end result is that companies employ more people, for the same money and end up with better trained staff (and also employing training places etc.).

      So, fundamentally a good idea, but if it's damaging to the business they don't have to do it, it's a no brainer, unless of course you can cancel the rights and then claim you saved £500m (regadless of how true this is).

      The country is no better or no worse for cancelling these rights, but it removes another possibility of getting better in the future.

  2. Graham Bartlett

    And in other news...

    ... bears defecate in areas with lots of trees, and the Pope follows a specific monotheistic religion...

    As pointless rules go, it was a bit of a classic. "Good business reason", like perhaps "if you're not working then we can't get the job done"? Which is all any manager needs to say for every training request given to them, so there's absolutely no way of making it stick. In other words, it didn't give any statutory protection in the first place.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Worse than that

      It's either:

      "the job won't get done if you're not here"

      or it's

      "the job will be done whether or not you're here, so what are we paying you for? goodbye"

  3. Allan 1
    Thumb Up


    When you sign an employment contract, you are agreeing to do a job, regularly and to the best of your abilities. In exchange for this, they are agreeing to give you money.

    If you want to swank off to learn new skills, in order to get a better job (probably with a different company), it should be on your own time.

    Even without this legislation, companies still sent me on training programs, at their own expense, and on full pay, because it benefited them. I think that all this legislation would have done is cause a lot of people to request time off for training, on things that were of no benefit to their employers, and the employers would have had to say "yes", which would most probably have had them cutting back on their own sponsored training schemes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yes well that's all fine and dandy for you then isn't it?

      "Even without this legislation, companies still sent me on training programs"

      well my company doesn't, and doesn't look likely to do so anytime soon despite loads of bollocks about "personal development" & "career progression"

      i agree with you that the training would mainly be to their benefit, but as we're run by bean counters it's seen as an unnecessary expense, after all, you can already do your job can't you? -can't you?

    2. Stacy
      Thumb Down

      Wow... Short sighted isn't it?

      Where I work, admittedly not in the UK, we get all the books we need brought for us (buy the book and claim it as expenses) and for self study we can use works time provided we put double in of own time. For training we get the time off, and for certification we get the exams paid and 1/2 day free.

      And it works, most people here are loyal to the company because the company treats the employees well. We do unpaid overtime *only when really needed* (read twice or three times a year) without complaints and take any issues in our software personally.

      I've never understood the UK need to treat employees like dirt, and then act surprised when people jump ship and return the favour.

      What do you do as an employer when you want to use the latest and greatest technology? Hire a new employee as you refuse to train existing ones?

  4. Kikki D

    What training ?

    Evey year the first thing that gets cut is our training budget ......

  5. JaitcH

    Way to go, Britain, other countries do exactly the same and win

    How dumb can British governments get?

    With today's rapidly changing technology continual updating/retraining is required.

    In my North American business career I have spent, at employers expense, approximately 6.8 years at non-university product related training.

    The dummy politicians who made this decision should study places such as Singapore, Greece (even), China and VietNam and see just how determined people are to improve their skill-sets.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    If the training is a good idea then a decent company will allow it anyway.

    All this legislation would really have done is allow people with a lack of common sense to go on courses that were either pointless or related to their hobbies rather than their jobs. Then, when their firm went bust due to all their colleagues doing the same, to find themselves unemployed.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Won't miss these pretend rights

    This one was new to me but I remember Nu Labour banging on about how people now had the right to request flexible working as if they were giving us something.

    I always thought I could ask for anything I wanted and my employer could refuse it on the grounds that it would cost them money. But apparently I now had the "right" to do something I could always do before.

    I was always waiting for them to give me the right to breath, ask my employer for a pay rise, or vote for someone else.

  8. Captain TickTock
    Thumb Down


    If you train your staff, there's a risk they might leave and take what they've learnt with them

    If you don't train your staff, there's a risk they might stay... and you're stuck with them.

    Many bosses complain about the quality of the staff, that they've chosen, and then haven't developed.

    Everyone is responsible for their own development, true. But a boss is responsible for results, and fostering an environment where employees are encouraged and helped to develop is the one of the best ways to improve results.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only the IoD

    Don't the CBI also normally chime in with some bogus estimate of how many trillions a law like this would cost the economy annually (not to mention their usual "the sky will fall" if anyone dares mention the idea of a new national holiday)?

  10. Robert E A Harvey
    Paris Hilton

    I know $MEGACORP

    "may only refuse a request for a "good business reason"."

    $MEGACORP's idea of a "good business reason" would be "because while you are doing that you won't be out there earning for us"

    Might as well get scrapped, I can't see it ever being of any use.

    ....talking of things that aren't any use...

  11. Watashi


    If the rules didn't include forcing companies to pay for training, then they were useless anyway.

  12. Chris Donald

    Seems a strange choice to cut

    Seems an odd choice to cut, though of course, the conservative element is known to be influenced by the more elite folks. Like Directors.

    That might be skeptical of course. And I do want the Coalition to succeed-the labour nannies were way, way over the top.

    However, I can't help feeling that its a choice that reduces options a little for workers.

    Personally, I would not work for a company that didn't offer a reasonable level of staff development, as it would be pointless to me.

    To condradict myself a little, perhaps its not something the government should be regulating in the first place. If a company doesn't value training on its own, that says a lot about the company in question, imposing artificial rules on them will not change that fundemental set of values, meaning the legislation would be paid lip service too.

    No point in pointless laws.

  13. Stefing

    "Clegg's Britain"

    That's a particularly cheap shot, even for ElReg.

    I expect better from you.

    Oh, hang on a minute, no I don't.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: "Clegg's Britain"

      Aw, c'mere you.

  14. amiman

    Your all Robots

    And your master programmer has said their ideas are better than yours, so obey. Good boy, now rollover! You sniveling Brats er.. Brits can't take a poo without it being taxed, regulated and subsidized plus filling out a form or two. You all make me disgusted as you all scramble back under your Lord's robes and scribble "Toady" on your foreheads!

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