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Part-Time Workers

Volume 404: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of the Part-time Workers Directive on staff in her Department. [109280]

Defra is committed to creating an environment which enables all members of staff to achieve a better work life balance. Part-time working is one of several ways in which the Department offers its staff flexibility in their working patterns. Figures for staff in post in the core Department1 show that 11 per cent. of staff have adopted a part-time working pattern. Defra agencies and non-departmental public bodies are encouraged to take a similar approach.In 2002, the Department conducted a staff survey, one element of which was to compare the views of part-time workers with those of full-time staff on various aspects of working for Defra. The results of the survey will be discussed with the part-time staff network with a view to taking action where necessary. There will be follow up activity to enable us to monitor progress and identify any new issues.Defra has produced a race equality scheme under the requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. As part of this scheme we will monitor the impact on staff in a number of key employment areas. In addition to ethnicity data, the monitoring plan will allow us to assess the impact of our employment policies and procedures on other groups, such as part-time staff.

The Department will also conduct an Equality Audit, which will examine pay on the basis of contractual hours. This will enable an assessment of pay equality between full and part-time staff.

1 Includes staff in the Pesticides Safety Directorate, Veterinary Laboratories and Veterinary Medicines Directorate as at 1 October 2002.