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Working Hours

Volume 412: debated on Friday 11 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what policy on (a) core hours and (b) flexible working hours is operated by his Department and each agency and non-departmental public body for which his Department is responsible. [107651]

Throughout the Department, including non-departmental public bodies, flexible working hours schemes are designed locally within a corporate framework. This is by consultation with managers, staff and the appropriate Trade Unions, to suit business and staff needs. Schemes are designed to take account of the need to maintain efficiency and service to the public and other customers.Flexible working hours schemes operate wherever practicable, and staff are not unnecessarily excluded from participating. The schemes cover all grades, including part-time staff, job share and part year appointments. Participation in a flexible working hours scheme is voluntary. Individuals who prefer not to participate in a scheme may work fixed hours. individuals who abuse flexible working can be suspended from the scheme.Core-time is not mandatory, but where flexible working hours schemes include a core-time, the maximum number of core hours is six hours daily for full-time staff working standard work patterns. Part-time staff have a pro rata number of the full-time core hours. The full core-time includes time for a flexible lunch/meal break. Staff may vary the length and timing of their lunch/meal break within the parameters of the scheme.