Introduction to this document

Time off for employee representatives policy

Employee representatives have a statutory right to reasonable paid time off work to perform their functions or to undergo training to perform their role. Our policy covers the law here.

Right to time off

The Employment Rights Act 1996 entitles employees who are employee representatives to take a reasonable amount of paid time off work in order to perform their functions as an employee representative, or as a candidate for election as an employee representative, or to undergo relevant training to perform such functions. The provisions apply to employee representatives who are representing affected employees’ interests in collective consultations relating to redundancies or changing employment terms or in consultations relating to a proposed TUPE transfer. They also apply to anyone who is standing as a candidate in an election to select employee representatives. Our Time Off for Employee Representatives Policy sets out these eligibility requirements.

Request procedure

The legislation doesn’t set out any process for employees to make requests for time off, so our policy includes a simple procedure under which they must make a written request to their line manager stating how much time off they require, the purpose of it, and the dates (and times) when they intend to be absent. It then says that you’ll respond to the employee’s request as soon as is reasonably practicable, and where you deny it or accept it only in part, you’ll give them written reasons for your refusal. The employee is only entitled to “reasonable” time off, meaning you can turn down an unreasonable request. Consider here how much time off they’ve requested (and when) and balance this against the operational needs of your business. Bear in mind that the employee can bring an employment tribunal claim where either you’ve unreasonably refused to allow them time off or you’ve failed to pay them for any time off granted.

Payment for time off

You’re required to pay the employee for time off granted at the “appropriate hourly rate”, which is the amount of one week’s pay divided by the number of normal working hours in a week for them under their employment contract in force on the day when the time off is taken. There are different statutory rules for calculating one week’s pay where the employee’s normal hours differ from week to week or over a longer period, and these are all set out clearly in our policy.

Other time off rights

There are some other statutory provisions which may require you to inform and consult with employee representatives, e.g. in relation to pension schemes changes or with health and safety representatives, and such representatives are essentially permitted similar rights to paid time off. These aren’t covered in our policy as they arise under separate legislation.