Though we know that you are committed to developing the skills and knowledge of your employees, we understand that this will be subject to the needs of your school, as well as operational and budgetary considerations.
It is not always clear the procedures that should be followed and, specifically, whether employees should be paid for time taken off for training and study; this article will outline what you need to know as a school employer.
Firstly, it is important to get to grips with who is eligible to take time off for training and study.
Employees have a right to request time off for study and, as an employer, you have a duty to consider it and respond accordingly.
Legal entitlement depends on if there are at least 250 people in your school, academy or trust, and if the individual in question:
Employees not entitled to take time off include:
Employees can also only make one request per year.
However, you should clearly set out all your eligibility requirements in your school’s policy on applications for time off for training or study.
Procedures that employees should follow when making a formal request for time off should also be set out in your school’s policy on time off for training or study.
If you do not have a policy in place, employees should write to you stating they are making a request ‘under Section 63D of the Employment Rights Act 1996’ and provide the following details:
If an employee does not include all this information, you do not have to consider their request.
It is also the responsibility of the employee to inform you if they do not start or finish the agreed training or study, or if they do (or plan to do) a different course from the one previously approved.
Legally, you do not have to pay for time taken off for study or training. However, in some cases, you may choose to pay for some or all the time off, and the same rules also apply to associated costs, e.g. travel expenses.
You have 28 days to accept the employees’ request or hold a meeting with them to discuss their application.
The employee is entitled to postpone the meeting in the event of them being unavailable, and they can also bring a trade union representative or colleague with them to the meeting.
Following the meeting, you have 14 days to decide on their request, unless the employee agrees in writing to extend this time.
In circumstances where you accept the application without the need for a meeting, you should return a copy of the signed form to the employee and retain the original on their personnel file.
Though this should also be set out in your policy, you may choose to reject a request for any of the following reasons:
An employee has the right to appeal your decision if you refuse to request time off for training or study.
Legally, the appeal must be made within 14 days of your decision and be written, dated and set out why they are appealing.
However, outline your appeals procedures in your school’s policy, e.g. you may wish for employees to send in their appeal within five days of the receipt of the written notice of your decision.
Having won the ‘Payroll and HR Provider’ Award at the Rewards Strategy 2018, we pride ourselves on our award-winning Payroll & Pensions service, and, with our 100% focus on education, you really can be sure you are in safe hands.
EPM schools get access to our model document ‘Policy and Application for Time Off for Training or Study’, which can be downloaded and tailored to your specific school, as well as unlimited contact with their dedicated Payroll & Pensions team.
If you have questions on anything covered in this article, do not hesitate to contact our team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01480 431993.