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Part-Time Workers

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the impact of the Part-time Workers Directive on staff in his Department. [109274]

Within the Northern Ireland Office, no formal assessment has been made of the impact of the Part-time Workers Directive on staff. But managers are committed to the concept of good work-life balance.A total of 186 staff currently job share or work part-time.Part-time working is only one of several ways in which the Northern Ireland Office offer staff flexibility in their working patterns.Prior to the introduction of the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001, which were effective from the 21 October 2001, the 11 Departments within the Northern Ireland Administration had already introduced measures to ensure that part-time staff were treated no less favourably than their full time counterparts.On foot of the Directive, these measures were examined to ensure that they were fully compliant. Since the Directive, in itself, had no impact on the policies in place, an assessment would not be meaningful.The departments within the Northern Ireland Administration continually strive to be a "Good Employer" and are committed to the concept of good work-life balance for its staff in serving Ministers and the public to the highest standards.

Part-time working and job sharing are only two of the options which NI Departments offer staff to provide flexibility in their working patterns.

At the 1 January 2003, NI Departments had 1,124 staff who were either employed on a part-time or job sharing basis making up 11 per cent. of the overall staff workforce.