1. Introduction

1.1 The policy and procedure provide the University of York with a consistent framework for considering employees’ requests for time off for training and follows legislation as outlined in The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 and the Employee Rights Act 1996. Requests made will be considered with due regard to the University’s commitment to promoting equality and diversity among employees and commitment to developing our researcher community.

1.2 It is intended that this policy will augment the University’s existing staff development policy. Requests for learning and development made through the performance review process and throughout the year will continue to be considered as they currently are without staff being required to make a formal request under this policy.

1.3 The University of York is committed to providing its employees with development opportunities to ensure that individuals and departments are able to contribute fully to the achievement of department and University objectives in the context of the strategic plan. The University already provides an extended programme of learning and development activities prioritised against the University’s needs and available to all employees. It is envisaged that this policy will be used by staff only in the exceptional circumstance that they are unable to access and use the resources already available to them. Therefore, members of staff wishing to train should explore their request with their line manager prior to using this policy and procedure and to check what is already available across the University at http://www.york.ac.uk/admin/hr/training/

1.4 The policy sets out the University’s approach to requests for time off for training and the procedure details the application process.

1.5 Guidelines for managers [pdf] and employees [pdf] are available separately.

2. Scope

2.1 This policy applies to any member of staff who has worked for the University continuously for 26 weeks at the time the application is made.

2.2 The purpose of the proposed study or training must be to improve the employee’s effectiveness in their role and the performance of the University or department. Whether or not the requested training might help the employee to be more effective at work and help the University to improve business performance would be for the line manager in consultation with the Head of Department to determine following a discussion with the employee.

2.3 This Policy does not cover anyone who:

  • Has made another application under this procedure during the preceding 12 months, taken from the day on which the current application is received by the University.
  • Is aged 16 or 17 and are required by the Education and Skills Act 2008 to continue to participate in education or training until the age of 18.
  • Is aged 18 and currently participating in a course of training or education for the purpose of fulfilling the duties of their post e.g. an apprenticeship
  • Is a young person who already has a statutory right to paid time off to undertake study or training (under section 63A of the Employment Rights Act 1996)
  • Is a casual or agency worker.
  • Is a member of the University’s temp pool.

2.4 A member of staff can ask to undertake more than one piece of training in a single request.

2.5 If a request is accepted, then the member of staff has an ongoing obligation to keep their manager informed, for example, if he or she fails to attend or to complete the agreed study or training.

2.6 No central funds are available to support individual’s requests and where support is approved for such requests, departments will be expected to provide the required resources. Decisions about whether training will be funded by the University will be taken in line with the staff development policy and specifically the guidelines for support for external development programmes with or without qualification. Payment entitlements are not within the remit of this procedure.

3. General principles

3.1 Eligible employees have the right to make a formal request for training and the University has a duty to consider such applications seriously. However, there is no automatic right to insist on time off as there may be circumstances when the University is unable to accommodate an employee’s request.

3.2 The employee has a responsibility to think carefully about their desired training and its potential impact on their department, and to make an application well in advance of the date they would like to undertake the training. The University is required to follow the procedure as outlined below to ensure that requests are considered seriously and consistently

3.3 Employees have a right to request time off for training but do not have a right to insist on time off.

3.4 Employees do not have the right to be paid for the time spent training where a request is agreed. Depending on the detail of a request, the University may agree with the employee that they will work flexibly to make up the time spent training, that they will take unpaid time off to train, or that they will be paid for the time spent training.

4. Responsibilities

Role Responsible for


  • Discussing their interest in making a request for time off for training with their line manager.
  • Submitting a written request under the Right to Request Time off for Training Policy, including all relevant information at least eight weeks before you wish your request to take effect in order to give the University appropriate time to consider your request.
  • Responding promptly and positively to requests for further information and with regard to arrangements for meetings.

Line manager

  • Responding constructively to informal discussions with employees about a right to request time off for training.
  • Giving due consideration to formal requests for a right to request time off for training, taking a positive and creative approach to enabling requests where possible in light of the needs of the service.
  • Ensuring the Head of Department has all relevant information, including service needs and factors affecting the well-being of all staff, to enable a fair decision to be made.
  • Following the procedure when dealing with requests for a request for time off for training. In particular, ensuring time-scales are met.

Head of Department

  • Establishing and maintaining a culture that is supportive of developing an individual’s performance through supporting attendance at timely and relevant learning and development activities.
  • Giving due consideration to formal requests for time off for training, taking a positive and creative approach to enabling requests where possible in light of the needs of the service.
  • Following the procedure when dealing with requests for time off for training. In particular, ensuring time-scales are met
  • Advising HR of the outcome of any requests.
  • Ensuring the University’s Equal Opportunities principles are applied in matters relating to a request for time off for training.

Human Resources

  • Providing guidance and advice to employees, line managers and Heads of Department regarding the Right to Request Time off for Training and the relevant legislative requirements.
  • Receiving appeals from employees whose request for time off for training has been turned down. Appointing an appropriate manager to hear the appeal.
  • Monitoring and reviewing the working of the policy, including monitoring for equal opportunities impact.

5. Monitoring of policy

5.1 Application of the policy will be monitored by the Director of Human Resources. Statistics regarding formal requests will be reported to HR Policy Committee as part of an annual report.

6. Related documents

This policy is not contractual and is not intended to be incorporated into individual terms and conditions of employment. It may be subject to review, amendment or withdrawal.

Document control

  • Approved on: 28 September 2010