For what kind of training are union representatives entitled to paid time off?

Union representatives are entitled to paid time off during working hours for training in aspects of industrial relations that are relevant to their duties. The duties to which this right applies are set out in s.168 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULR(C)A). These include negotiation and other functions relating to matters listed in s.178(2) of TULR(C)A for which the union is recognised for collective bargaining purposes. These are:

  • terms and conditions of employment;
  • engagement, non-engagement, suspension or termination of employment;
  • allocation of work or duties;
  • disciplinary matters;
  • trade union membership or non-membership;
  • facilities for trade union officials; and
  • procedures and the framework for negotiations or consultation on the matters above.

Union representatives are also entitled to time off for training in relation to: information and consultation about collective redundancies or a TUPE transfer; and negotiation and other functions relating to the variation of employees' contracts during a TUPE transfer where the transferor is subject to insolvency proceedings.

Union learning representatives are permitted paid time off for training relevant to enabling them to fulfil their functions.

The training must be approved by the TUC or by the relevant independent trade union. Training needs will vary depending on factors such as the type of organisation, the scope of the specific collective bargaining arrangement between the employer and the union, and the role of the individual representative.