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Departmental Working Hours

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 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. (252005)

The information is as follows:

(a) Obligations and rights concerning the working day and breaks at work are contained in a collective agreement with departmental trade unions.

Time off in lieu for working lunch breaks is not granted. The Department recognises that working for long periods without taking a break is not good for an individual. For this reason DWP staff are expected to take a meal break at an appropriate point in the day.

(b) Time off in lieu of working evenings is only available to individuals not contracted to work this pattern.

(c) As a result of working outside contracted hours and as an alternative to extra hours or overtime pay, an employee may, with their line manager’s agreement, take time off in lieu for the hours actually worked, excluding meal breaks. In agreeing to this, a line manager will balance the individual’s request with business needs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 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. (252006)

DWP does not maintain central records of the total or average days taken off in lieu by employees. To extract this information from individual records for the period requested would incur a disproportionate cost. Non-departmental public bodies do not hold this information.