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Departmental Dress Code

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 26 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department’s policy is on the display of religious (a) artefacts, (b) symbols and (c) dress by its staff; how many staff have been subject to disciplinary proceedings regarding this policy in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (95640)

The Department for Work and Pensions respects the beliefs and religions of all its staff. It does not have a specific policy on the display of religious artefacts, symbols or dress by its staff.

The Department has a standards of behaviour policy that allows its businesses to set dress standards that it expects staff to follow, though there are none that relate specifically to the wearing of religious dress, artefacts or symbols. All staff are expected to present themselves in a professional and business-like way.

The Department is very much committed to promoting equality and valuing diversity within the workplace and where possible facilities for prayer or quiet contemplation are provided for staff to use.

All managers are made aware of the Departmental guidance on enabling staff to observe religious obligations and festivals. Faith awareness training is delivered for staff through a learning and development toolkit, which provides information on religious beliefs, observances and practices.

No staff have been subject to disciplinary proceedings regarding this and it is not a category for which the Department gathers any statistics.