The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 received Royal Assent on 12 November 2009 and will introduce a new apprenticeship structure and a new right for employees to request time off work to undertake study or training.
The Act overhauls the legislation covering apprenticeships and will (1) introduce a new apprenticeship structure to facilitate the creation of apprenticeship agreements and the provision of apprenticeship certificates, and (2) provide that the relationship between the employer and the apprentice will be a ‘contract of service’ not apprenticeship, which will give the apprentice greater legal protection. These provisions are due to come into force in 2013.
The Act also introduces a right for employees with more than 26 weeks’ service to request time off work to undertake study or training. An employee may only make one application every 12 months. Employers must consider all requests, but will be entitled to refuse a request for specified business reasons or if, in their view, the training would not improve the employee’s effectiveness at work or the performance of their business as a whole. The new rights are expected to apply to those people employed in businesses with 250 or more employees from 6 April 2010 and then to all employees from April 2011.
The Government has produced a leaflet explaining the new right.