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3. After Article 91 of the [1996 NI 16.] Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 there shall be inserted—
91A.—(1) An employee who—
(a)is aged 16 or 17,
(b)is not receiving full-time secondary or further education, and
(c)has not attained such standard of achievement as is prescribed by regulations made by the Department with the approval of the Department of Education,
is entitled to be permitted by his employer to take time off during the employee's working hours in order to undertake study or training leading to a relevant qualification.
(2) In this Article—
(a)“secondary education” has the same meaning as in Article 2(2) of the Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986;
(b)“further education” has the same meaning as in Article 3 of the Further Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1997; and
(c)“relevant qualification” means an external qualification the attainment of which—
(i)would contribute to the attainment of the standard prescribed for the purposes of paragraph (1)(c), and
(ii)would be likely to enhance the employee's employment prospects (whether with his employer or otherwise);
and for the purposes of sub-paragraph (c) “external qualification” means an academic or vocational qualification awarded or authenticated by such person or body as may be specified in or under regulations made by the Department with the approval of the Department of Education.
(3) An employee who—
(a)satisfies the requirements of sub-paragraphs (a) to (c) of paragraph (1), and
(b)is for the time being supplied by his employer to another person ( “the principal”) to perform work in accordance with a contract made between the employer and the principal,
is entitled to be permitted by the principal to take time off during the employee's working hours in order to undertake study or training leading to a relevant qualification.
(4) Where an employee—
(a)is aged 18,
(b)is undertaking study or training leading to a relevant qualification, and
(c)began such study or training before attaining that age,
paragraphs (1) and (3) shall apply to the employee, in relation to that study or training, as if “ or 18 ” were inserted at the end of paragraph (1)(a).
(5) The amount of time off which an employee is to be permitted to take under this Article, and the occasions on which and any conditions subject to which time off may be so taken, are those that are reasonable in all the circumstances having regard, in particular, to—
(a)the requirements of the employee's study or training, and
(b)the circumstances of the business of the employer or the principal and the effect of the employee's time off on the running of that business.
(6) References in this Article to study or training are references to study or training on the premises of the employer or (as the case may be) principal or elsewhere.
(7) For the purposes of this Article the working hours of an employee shall be taken to be any time when, in accordance with his contract of employment, the employee is required to be at work.”.
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