Clause 51

Education and Skills Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 21st February 2008.

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Parliamentary staff

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Shadow Minister (14-19 Reform and Apprenticeships)

I beg to move amendment No. 91, in clause 51, page 27, line 33, leave out subsection (2).

Clause 51 sets out the way in which parliamentary staff are to be treated in relation to part 1 of the Bill. Clause 51 (2) states:

“Regulations may provide for Chapter 1 to have effect subject to modifications in relation to persons working in that way.”

Amendment No. 91 is essentially a probing amendment, intended to give the Government the opportunity to explain why parliamentary staff may be treated differently, and to outline how the provisions set out in chapter 1 may be modified by regulation in respect of parliamentary staff.

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)

Much as I am hugely grateful for the work of Crown employees, we are all equally grateful for the job that the House of Commons staff do for us. The Committee may be interested to learn, however, that the House of Commons staff, and indeed, those employed in the other place, do not, as a matter of law,  work under a contract of employment and are not therefore automatically included in references to working in that way, bizarre as that may sound.

I am sure that the Committee will agree that we want working in the House to count as employment for the purpose of the duty to participate, and the clause makes that clear. Furthermore, the definition of normal weekly working hours in clause 5 needs to be modified in relation to the staff of this House, as they do not work under a contract of employment. Regulations under subsection (2) will enable us to do so, and it is appropriate that such technical detail is dealt with in secondary legislation, which will be laid before the House. I therefore ask the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings to withdraw his amendment.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Shadow Minister (14-19 Reform and Apprenticeships)

Given the Minister’s immensely persuasive comments, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 51 ordered to stand part of the Bill.