Northern Ireland Office: Pay

Northern Ireland Office written question – answered on 24th January 2020.

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Photo of Chris Stephens Chris Stephens Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Fair Work and Employment)

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment he has made of his Department's compliance with section 3.1.8 of the Civil Service Management Code.

Photo of Julian Smith Julian Smith The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

While my Department does not currently have any Trade Union representatives, all staff are employed under the terms and conditions of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and staff have access to the services of Trade Unions in the MoJ. My Department is aware that it has an obligation to provide reasonable paid time off to recognised trade union representatives to undertake trade union duties. This includes paid time off to Health and Safety representatives as set out in section 3.1.8 of the Civil Service Management Code.

The MoJ, in line with the legislative obligation set out in the Trade Union Act (2016), annually publishes information relating to facility time for relevant union officials. Facility time is defined by the Act as including time off taken by a relevant union official that is permitted by the official’s employer, including under “regulations made under section 2(4) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974”.

The Government recognises there are significant benefits to both employers and employees when organisations and unions work together effectively to deliver high quality public services, but facility time within the public sector must be accountable and represent value for money.

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