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House of Commons: Conditions of Employment

House of Commons Commission written question – answered on 21st December 2017.

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Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton

To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to the Answer of 30 November 2017 to Question HL3576, what steps he is taking to strengthen the families of Members and staff working in Parliament.

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

The House of Commons Commission is committed to providing family friendly policies, e.g. maternity leave, parental leave, adoption leave, foster care leave, career breaks, flexible working and the offer of Childcare Vouchers.

The House of Commons Commission has also taken a number of steps to improve the availability of childcare around the Estate. The House Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion is currently piloting an emergency childcare contract, which makes it easier for Members and House staff to find childcare at short notice. This is in addition to the facilities of the Parliamentary nursery, which welcomes users from across the Parliamentary Estate. Also, all Parliamentary pass holders have access to the Westminster Holiday Playscheme catering for children between 4 years 9 months and 12 years old.

The House of Commons recently launched the Work+Family Space website for Members, Members’ staff and staff of the House of Commons. The site provides assistance with Backup Care services which include Emergency Childcare, School Holiday Cover and Backup Adult & Eldercare, paid for by the end user. The website also offers a range of other services providing information and advice on a range of subjects.

In addition, Parliament is aiming to take part in the Inter-Parliamentary Union Gender Sensitive Parliament audit. As part of this process there will be a focus on how Parliament supports work-life balance and family obligations.

The Members’ pension scheme has comprehensive cover for partners, spouses and dependants in the event of a Member’s death, and the benevolent fund can support their families financially if necessary as well, after they have left the House or died.

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