Do young people have the right to time off work for education or training?

Under s.63A of the Employment Rights Act 1996, young people aged 16 or 17 (and also 18-year-olds who began their studies or training before reaching 18) who have left full-time education without attaining a prescribed "standard of achievement" have the legal right to paid time off work to acquire a "relevant academic or vocational qualification". However, this right is overridden by a duty on certain young people to participate in education and training introduced by provisions in the Education and Skills Act 2008. The duty applies (from 29 June 2013) to young people in England who have not attained a level 3 qualification and who are under age 17 (increasing to age 18 from 26 June 2015). Where this duty applies, the right to time off work under the Employment Rights Act 1996 does not apply. Young people in Scotland and Wales continue to have the right to time off work under s.63A.

The Eduction and Skills Act 2008 includes provisions requiring employers to accommodate young workers' arrangements for participation in education or training. However, the Government does not currently have plans to bring these requirements into force. Therefore, young people in England who are covered by the duty to participate in education or training do not have the right to time off for this purpose.