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Practice dilemma: Time off for language classes

Your practice nurse requests time off to learn a foreign language. Do you have to let her?

Your practice nurse requests time off to learn a foreign language. Do you have to let her?

Apart from where employees work in large organisations employing over 250 employees, there is no statutory right to request time off for training at the moment. From April 2011 this right is extending to employees working for organisations with 51 - 250 employees but unless your practice falls within this category, your nurse has no statutory right to make a request for time off for training of this type.

However, if the request is made after April 2011and you are a larger practice with over 50 employees then it will be something you need to look at. The eligibility, procedure to follow, grounds for refusal and penalties for failure to comply largely mirror the right to request flexible working legislation and so where the right applies needs to be considered carefully.

However, even if your nurse is ineligible to make a request under the right to request time off for training legislation, you may nevertheless decide to consider her request as it may be that foreign language is beneficial to the practice - especially if, for example, it is a language which is prevalent to your patient base.

Either way, if you agree to the time off, there is no requirement to pay her for time off, or for the course fees themselves.

Alison Graham is a healthcare employment lawyer at Veale Wasbrough Vizards

Alison Graham is a healthcare employment lawyer at Veale Wasbrough Vizards

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