As from 6 April, many employees have the right to ask their employers for time to train.
The new regulation covers businesses that employ more than 250 people, although the right will be extended to include all employees from April 2011.
Under the change, employees can request time to pursue relevant study or training, and employers are obliged to take any request seriously.
The training should improve the employee’s effectiveness in their job or contribute to the performance and productivity of the business.
Employers don’t have to approve every request and can refuse them if there is a good business reason to do so.
Kevin Brennan, the Skills Minister, said: “We need to empower people to speak about training opportunities and the benefits they can bring to a business’ success.
“Many companies and organisations are very good at training their staff, but we need to make sure that all businesses are advising employees on what is on offer.
“This is where a regulation like Time to Train will be able to help people. It will give them the confidence to ask about training and skills, allowing them to take control of their own careers.”