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Home Working

Volume 447: debated on Wednesday 14 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in his Department have been enabled to work from home in each of the last 3 years; and if he will make a statement. (68002)

DWP employees may work from home:

(a) Permanently, on a contractual basis; and

(b) On an ad-hoc basis.

A DWP wide home working policy becomes effective from 19 June 2006, but existing employees may already apply to become a permanent home worker under their legacy terms of employment as a former employee of the DSS or one of its agencies, or the Employment Service.

The parents of children aged under six (18 if the child is disabled) also have a statutory right to apply to become a home worker under the terms of The Flexible Working (Procedural Requirements) Regulations 2002.

The total staffing figures for DWP for the years 2004, 2005 and 2006, and therefore the number of employees who might apply to become permanent home workers, and the specific number who have contracted as permanent home workers are as follows:

As at March each year:

Permanent employees

Contracted home workers

2004

143,610

4

2005

133,479

5

2006

127,147

6

Managers may exercise discretion and authorise employees to work from home on an ad-hoc basis for a variety of reasons.

Statistical data have never been collected about ad-hoc home working arrangements, which are treated the same as any other absence from the normal work place on official duties.