Many employees have the right to request time off for training. While your employer doesn’t have to pay for it, some will if they think it will benefit the business.

If you’re an employee in a company with more than 250 staff, you have a legal right to request time off for training as long as you have worked for your employer for more than six months and are over 18. Your employer must consider your request. If they agree, the time off will normally be unpaid.

In your application, you’ll need to show how the training will help you to do your job better and benefit the business. The employer can refuse if the training wouldn’t help the business, or if your time out would negatively affect the business.

If you are aged 16 or 17, you have separate rights to time off to study or train.

Many good employers will offer learning and training opportunities that go beyond basic legal requirements. And unions offer training and development opportunities to their members.

If you’re not already a union member, you can use our Union Finder tool to find out which one would be the best fit.

Are you a rep? You can find more practical advice on a range of workplace issues in our support for reps section

Common
questions
To progress in my grade I need competency-based training. Why isn’t my employer providing me with it?
If it's usual for your employer to sponsor employees to undertake courses, programmes or assessments and you believe you are being overlooked, you should bring this to the attention of your employer, displaying your willingness to undergo the relevant development.
I want to attend a language course but my employer says it isn’t essential for my job. What can I do?
If you have six months' service or more with your employer and are employed by an organisation with 250 or more employees, your employer must consider your request. But there are lawful reasons to refuse...
I don’t have many qualifications. Can I get more through work?
Workers with few qualifications (i.e. fewer than five GCSEs at grade C or above, or equivalent) can get paid time off to train. You are entitled to take time off work without losing pay to do the studying and the Government reimburses your employer for the hours you miss.