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Departmental Flexible Working

Volume 468: debated on Monday 26 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff (a) have applied to work flexible hours and (b) work flexible hours (i) in the Department and (ii) the executive agencies for which the Department is responsible. (164329)

For the last full year for which headcount statistics are held (year ending 31 December 2006), 41,187 (33.9 per cent.) of employees in the Department for Work and Pensions, and its executive agencies, worked part-time. Included within that figure are employees taking advantage of the various options available to employees to assist their work/life balance—term-time working, compressed working weeks, job sharing, and home working, in addition to what is normally regarded as part-time working. We do not collect the figures for those who have applied to work part-time.

The Department has in place a process which allows parents, adopters, guardians or foster carers of children under six years of age or of disabled children under the age of 18, and for carers of adults, to apply to work flexibly in line with legislation. It additionally accepts requests from any employee with over 26 weeks in the Department who wishes to apply to work a flexible working pattern. Any employee with over 26 weeks in the Department may apply to change working pattern twice a year.

Flexible start and finish times are offered by all businesses within the Department, with the details of each scheme being tailored to their business requirements. Employees and their managers are thus able to accommodate informal arrangements where the needs of the Department and the individual can both be accommodated, without the need for recording a formal change to working pattern.