FSB News Release
Issue date: Tuesday 26 August 2008
FSB urges Government to reduce red tape on training
Small businesses could face the heavy hand of regulation by the government if they are forced to undertake formal meetings with employees who request time off to train, the Federation of Small Businesses has warned.
Responding to a consultation on the government’s push for employees to have the right to request time off to train, the UKs largest business organisation is urging the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills to create an exemption for small businesses (0-20) to be able to hold ‘one on one’ informal meetings without the need for union representation.
According to the FSB’s biennial survey of 20, 000 small business owners, 76 per cent of businesses undertake some form of training. A significant percentage of training is not recognised by government.
Colin Willman, Education and Skills Chairman, said:
“Most small businesses engage in training for their workforce as there are a higher percentage of under-skilled employees working within smaller businesses compared with bigger firms.
“The ‘time to train’ process is too expensive and too bureaucratic for small firms as it stands and the FSB is concerned that the employee’s right to request a meeting to discuss time off to train will not only lead to an extra layer of bureaucracy, but will also lead to panic amongst small businesses that a refusal could be interpreted as constructive dismissal.
“We believe the best way to engage small businesses with the policy are to keep it informal between employer and employee, making it easier to identify the necessary training.”
Notes to Editors
1. In July 2008, the FSB undertook a survey of almost 1,200 small business owners on their views on Apprenticeships. 24% employed apprentices; 78% said they would employ apprentices if there was financial support on offer from the government; 82% supported a wage rise for apprentices, and 72% said that the exemption from the minimum wage did not impact on their decision to use apprentices; Only 5% were aware that compensation was available for giving apprentices time off to train. For more information on the survey visit www.fsb.org.uk/data/default.asp?id=640&loc=policy.
2. The Federation of Small Businesses’ Barriers to Growth survey found that 76.4% of small businesses offer training to their employees. More information is available here: http://www.fsb.org.uk/documentstore/filedetails.asp?id=331.
3. The FSB responded to a consultation on “It’s Time to Talk Training – How to develop a dialogue on skills at the workplace” by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). For more information on the consultation visit the DIUS website at http://www.dius.gov.uk/.
4. For details on the FSB’s response contact Matthew Jaffa on email@example.com or call 020 7592 8106.
5. The FSB is Britain's biggest business organisation with over 213,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the self-employed, and all those who run their own business. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk.
Stephen Alambritis: 020 7592 8112 / 07788 422155
Prue Watson 020 7592 8121 / 07825 125695
Marc Shoffman 020 7592 8113 / 07595 067068
For regional FSB contacts please go to www.fsb.org.uk/regions