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Working Hours

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 8 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 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. [107648]

Within the Northern Ireland Office and the Northern Ireland Administration guidance on these matters is set out in a common Code of Practice for Flexible Working Hours. There are normally two core hours each morning (e.g. 10:00–12:00) and each afternoon (e.g. 14:00–16:00) constituting the essential part of the day when all staff should be present unless their absence has been authorised. Outside this core time, staff can vary their hours of attendance providing no adverse effect on efficiency and service to the public results.From 6 April 2003 parents of children under the age of six (or 18 in the case of a disabled child) have a statutory right to request to work flexibly and employers will have a duty to consider such requests seriously.Given the number of alternative working patterns in existence, details of the various core time and flexible working hours patterns operating throughout the Northern Ireland Office and the departments of the Northern Ireland Administration are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate costs.