Which activities are union members allowed time off to take part in?

Union members are entitled to reasonable time off to take part in any trade union activity provided that the activity does not itself constitute industrial action. For example, a union member is entitled to time off to vote on strike action, but not for the strike action itself.

Union "activities" are not the same as union "duties" and they attract different rights and obligations under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. Activities are actions taken by members in relation to their union, for example voting in elections, meeting with union representatives and attending workplace meetings. Duties are tasks undertaken by union representatives on behalf of the members, for example negotiating with the employer or organising elections.

A union member is also entitled to reasonable time off for accessing the services of union learning representatives.

The trade union must be recognised by the employer in order for these rights to apply.