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Business groups call for ‘time to train’ regulations to be scrapped

Some of the UK ’s leading business groups have urged the Government to scrap the ‘time to train’ regulations, which came into force in April.                                                                        

Under the scheme, workers in businesses with more than 250 employees can request time to take up relevant training. It is due to be extended to employees of smaller businesses from April 2011.

However, the Institute of Directors (IoD) has described the policy as ‘spectacularly bad’ and warns that the legislation will ‘undermine existing good practice in the planning and delivery of workplace training’.

Its comments follow the end of a five-week consultation on the ‘time to train’ scheme, which was carried out as part of the Coalition Government’s efforts to reduce the regulatory burden on business.

‘If the Government does not opt for complete repeal, employers will immediately question the true degree of its commitment to that agenda,’ the IoD said.

Meanwhile, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has also criticised the ‘time to train’ initiative, claiming that the rules will complicate the decision making process for employers.

‘The result of these regulations, when combined with legislation protecting part-timers and those on fixed-term contracts from discrimination, means decision making is even more complex,’ said Adam Marshall, director of policy and external affairs at the BCC.

‘Employers need flexibility in determining their staffing hours and training needs, but these regulations restrict this.’

Conversely, TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, has urged the Coalition to keep the right to request training, adding that scrapping the rules will ‘make a mockery of the Government's professed commitment to skills’.