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Departmental Flexible Working

Volume 497: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what flexi-time arrangements were available to staff of his Department in each of the last five years; and how many staff participated in such arrangements in each such year. (290528)

DEFRA and its agencies are committed to helping their staff to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Managers and employees are encouraged to think creatively about working patterns to help ensure the Department delivers a high quality service to its customers whilst accommodating the flexible working requests of its employees wherever possible.

In doing so, DEFRA meets the legal requirement to provide certain employees the right to request flexible working arrangements. Eligible employees are those responsible for bringing up a young (under 16) or disabled (under 18) child and those who are responsible for caring for an adult.

The flexible working practices in place for staff in DEFRA include:

Part-time working

Working compressed hours

Working flexi-time

Job share arrangements

Working from home.

DEFRA has also promoted the Civil Service Job Share website that was launched in May 2009 to help its employees find job share partners.

In terms of DEFRA'S flexi-time provisions, all staff below senior civil service (SCS) are eligible to apply to participate. The system allows employees to accrue time worked over and above their conditioned hours which they can then take in addition to their annual leave entitlement with approval from their manager.

Requests by staff to participate in the flexi-time arrangements are agreed, or otherwise, by line managers and no records are held centrally. These data can therefore be provided only at a disproportionate cost.