How to secure recognition and paid time off for Union Learning Reps

This page outlines how to secure recognition and paid time off for Union Learning Reps (ULRs).

Handshake agreement
  • The union needs to give notice to the employer in writing the name of the appointed ULR (see sample form on page 25 of Working for learners).
  • The ULR needs to be sufficiently trained to carry out his/her duties either at the time of the notice or in normal situations within six months (which may be extended to take account of unforeseen circumstances).
  • Whether training is ‘sufficient’ is determined by the union and should cover the functions set out in the Employment Act.
  • The training could be the completion of a TUC training course or an individual union programme or the demonstration of relevant expertise or experience to operate effectively as a ULR (e.g. acquired as a teacher, trainer or counsellor). A course need not lead to a qualification although that would be desirable.
  • The employer would have to pay the wage that the ULR would have earned had they worked during the time taken off for training.
  • In the case of ULRs who work flexible hours then they are entitled to training during normal hours and be paid accordingly.
  • The union/ULR should inform the employer either of the training undergone or to be undertaken.
  • During the six month period in which she or he is undergoing training the ULR must be allowed time off to perform their duties.
  • Once the employer is notified of the ULR, his/her past training or intention to train, then the employer is obliged to recognise the ULR by providing paid time-off to carry out the duties and in respect of any required further training.
  • Time off should be considered for further training to help ULRs develop their skills and competencies.

More information about the ULR role is contained the Working for learners handbook.