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Time to train regulations delayed for SMEs


The Government has postponed its plans to extend the ‘time to train’ regulations to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) following criticism from business groups.


The statutory right for employees in England to request time off for training came into force in April 2010, in respect of employers with 250 or more employees. It was due to be extended to all employees working in organisations of all sizes from 6 April 2011.


However, following consultation with business and employee groups, the Government has delayed implementation to allow further discussions to take place.


‘It is vital that the right balance is struck between support for training and the need to minimise the burden of regulation for smaller companies,’ said Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning Minister, John Hayes. ‘We have delayed implementation to allow further, thorough discussion, scrutiny and evaluation.’


The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which had raised concerns over the cost of the regulations, welcomed the move.


’The Government’s move to delay the Time off to Train regulations for small- and medium-sized firms is a good start, but we must go further if we are to get companies recruiting and growing their businesses,’ commented BCC Director General, David Frost.


With a raft of changes to employment law still in the pipeline, the BCC has urged the Government to do more to reduce the regulatory burden on UK firms.


‘Beyond delaying, the Government must look to scrap these burdensome regulations, especially since the latest figures show unemployment in the UK is now at a record high,’ said Mr Frost. ‘Unless we see a further reduction in red tape, we will continue to see high levels of unemployment for the foreseeable future and could end up putting the recovery at risk.’