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Departmental Working Hours

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 5 February 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) how many days off in lieu were granted to staff in (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies for working (i) in lunch breaks and (ii) at other times outside contracted working hours, in the last year for which figures are available; (252045)

(2) what the policy of his Department and its agencies is on granting staff time off in lieu for working (a) in lunch breaks, (b) in evenings and (c) at other times outside contracted working hours; and if he will make a statement.

The Department does not keep a central record of how many days off in lieu were granted to staff. The matter of granting time off in lieu is dealt with locally by line managers in accordance with departmental policies.

The Department has a flexible working policy which allows staff to work flexibly and organise their time around their contracted hours. The ways staff can work flexibly includes flexi-time, part-time, compressed hours, annualised hours and homeworking.

Complying with the Working Time Directive, staff are encouraged to take regular breaks including a minimum lunch break each day of half an hour. Staff who accrue flexi-time can take time off in lieu.

I have approached the chief executives of the Insolvency Service and Companies House and they will respond to the hon. Member directly.

Letter from Gareth Jones, dated 5 February 2009:

I am responding on behalf of Companies House to your recently tabled Parliamentary Question, reference 252045, to the Minister of State for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Companies House operates a Flexible Working Hours Scheme. Under the terms of that scheme staff who work lunch times, evenings or at other times build up flexi credits for the additional time they have worked. They then take that time as flexi leave. They have a responsibility to manage their time and can carry over 14 hours 48 minutes credit or debit from one flexi period to the next.

Letter from Stephen Speed, dated 5 February 2009:

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has asked me to reply to your question (2008/742), how many days off in lieu were granted to staff in (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies for working (i) in lunch breaks and (ii) at other times, in the last year for which figures are available.

The Insolvency Service is unable to supply you with data for the questions raised. The data required is held by local line-managers from different sources and in varied locations. To gather this information would entail disproportionate cost.

Letter from Stephen Speed, dated 5 February 2009:

The Minister of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has asked me to reply to you directly in respect of your question (2008/743) asking what the policy of his Department and its agencies is on granting staff time off in lieu for working (a) in lunch breaks, (b) in evenings and (c) at other times outside contracted working hours; and if he will make a statement.

I would like to answer the three parts of your question in relation to the Insolvency Service:

A) Staff are permitted to take time off in lieu when they are required for operational reasons to work through all or part of their meal break.

B) Staff attending approved evening or part day/evening courses of study may be allowed time off in lieu during the day, up to the equivalent time spent at classes, plus travelling time.

C) Time off in lieu may be allowed for necessary attendance at approved training activities on a Saturday, Sunday, public, Bank or privilege holiday or other recognised non-working day within the limits of conditioned hours.

Letter from Gareth Jones, dated 5 February 2009:

I am responding on behalf of Companies House to your recently tabled Parliamentary Question, reference 252046, to the Minister of State for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

As Companies House operates a Flexible Working Hours scheme, we have not granted any days off in lieu for staff working in lunch breaks or at other times.