Trade union membership rights

Rights of union learning representatives


Union learning representatives (ULRs) have the same status as union officials and are allowed paid time off to carry out their duties.

Union learning representatives are:

  • representatives of a recognised union who provide advice to union members about their training, educational and developmental needs
  • elected or appointed in accordance with the union's rules
  • trained in line with statutory training conditions
  • notified to the employer in writing

Rights of ULRs

ULRs have a legal right to reasonable paid time off during working hours to carry out their duties, which may include:

  • undertaking relevant training
  • analysing the learning or training needs of union members
  • providing information and advice on learning or training
  • arranging learning or training
  • consulting the employer about learning and training
  • preparing for the above

The law does not assign a negotiating role to ULRs. However, some employers have voluntarily negotiated learning agreements with their ULRs.

Advantages of ULRs for employers

ULRs can be a source of expert advice. They cost you comparatively little and can help with identifying the training needs of staff and encouraging a learning culture within the company.