Clause 50

Part of Education and Skills Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 21 February 2008.

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Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Minister of State (Schools and Learners), Department for Children, Schools and Families, Minister of State (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Schools and Learners) 4:15, 21 February 2008

We need the power to modify the provisions of chapter 1 in relation to Crown employment. As the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton said, those in Crown employment are essentially civil servants, and there are various people who have been hugely helpful to us in our deliberations who would count, and we must look after that valuable body of employees. There is some doubt as to whether, as a matter of law, Crown employees such as civil servants in  this valuable central Government work, are under a contract of employment and therefore included in references to working in this way. We do, of course, want this kind of work to count for the purposes of the duty to participate. The clause makes that clear, and it removes the legal doubt about the status of Crown employees. However, the definition of normal weekly working hours in clause 5 needs to be modified in relation to Crown employees, as they do not have a contract of employment. Regulations under subsection (2) will enable us to do so, and it is appropriate that this kind of technical detail is dealt with in secondary legislation. I therefore urge the hon. Gentleman to withdraw his amendment accordingly.