The right to request unpaid time-off for training
QMUL Policies on Training and Development
QMUL is committed to the professional development of its staff and recognises that they must have the knowledge and skills they require in order to carry out their role in QMUL. It therefore offers an array of development opportunities to its staff and has an entire department, the Centre for Academic and Professional Development (CAPD) that is dedicated to professional development.
QMUL's generous provisions for training and time off for training are described in a variety of documents. These include:
- the Policy on Staff Learning and Continuing Professional Development (currently under revision - any queries relating to this document should be sent to email@example.com);
- QMUL's Performance and Development Appraisal Scheme;
- QMUL Guidance Note on Probation;
- the Policy on Sabbatical Leave.
The Legal Right to Request Unpaid Time-off for Training
In addition to the provisions described above, members of staff may also have a legal right to request unpaid time-off to train or study (see Section 63D of the Employment Rights Act 1996). In practice, the legal regulations are unnecessarily bureaucratic and do not confer a right to paid time off, nor do they include a duty for QMUL to pay for the training intervention itself. QMUL therefore urges its staff to apply for training using its internal processes rather than this legal right.
The QMUL documents and processes described above enable its staff and managers, in a timely and coherent way, to:
- assess training needs;
- consider the value of a proposed development activity and how it should be prioritised;
- find an appropriate provider for courses;
- plan, budget for and co-ordinate the funding of training in the department as a whole;
- explore whether QMUL funds administered by CAPD can be used to contribute to the cost of the training;
- get appropriate approval for training and development and the time-off the employee needs for it.
The HoS/DoI/HoD and the other QMUL managers involved in allocating resources for training are unlikely to be able to consider all these issues within the time-frame required of them by the law on requesting unpaid time-off.
Nonetheless, if a HoS/DoI/HoD does receive a request based upon these legal rights, they have a legal duty to:
- consider the request and respond to it within pre-set timescales; and
- include in the response certain information specified in law; and
- refuse the request only if their grounds for doing so are among those listed in the legislation.
The HR Department has prepared a case management form to assist Heads in dealing with any Section 63D requests they receive.
Since the law requires managers to include specific information in the written decision they give, the HR Department has also prepared a series of standard letters to assist with compliance.
Interactive Process Chart
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