To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many members of staff in his Department were (a) working at their normal place of work, (b) working from home, (c) on annual leave, (d) on sickness absence and (e) not working for another reason in the week commencing 7 September 2020; and what plans he has in place to encourage departmental employees back to their normal place of work.
The core department has, over the last few months, flexed to working almost entirely from home, and has continued to deliver against our objectives. From 1 September 2020, our two primary offices in London and Hastings were made Covid secure and were opened to staff with strict social distancing measures in place. a) Since opening on 1 September, 32% of core DfT staff have returned to their usual workplace, with a) 24% attending during the w/b 7 September; b) The remainder of staff were either working from home or absent due to annual leave, sickness or other reasons (see below); c) On average, there was an 8% absence due to annual leave each day during the w/b 7 September; d) On average, there were 11 absences less than 1% due to sickness each day during the w/b 7 September; e) On average, there were 51 absences (2%) due to other reasons (including maternity leave) each day during the w/b 7 September.
Our number one priority is the safety of our staff, and we are continuing to look for opportunities to maximise the capacity in our buildings whilst ensuring they remain Covid secure. The core Department’s headquarters, Great Minster House, is currently undergoing a planned refurbishment which is limiting our safe capacity and demand is currently at capacity. As each stage of refurbishment is completed, further capacity will be released with social distancing measures in place to meet the increasing demand, and we are exploring other options to maximise space available for staff to return.