From early April, some 11 million UK workers are set to have the right to request time off for training, in a scheme which will be extended to cover all business employees from April 2011.
The Department for Business announced on Business Link that Britons would be eligible for time off to take an accredited training course to gain a qualification or unaccredited training designed to further their skills.
It noted the primary focus of the initiative for employers should be to agree the most relevant form of training and that a response to the request will have to be given within a set time.
While such requests can be turned down, the department notes a good reason must be given.
In guidance given on the DirectGov website, HR managers are advised that all employees are eligible to apply for time to train once they have worked continuously for the firm for 26 weeks.
However, agency workers are not covered, while employees aged between 16 and 18 are already expected to take part in some form of training.