§ Ms Jowell
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what provision is available to employees of executive agencies under the control of his Department for(a) maternity leave, (b) maternity pay (c) paternity leave, (d) parental leave, (e) flexible working hours, (f) part-time work, (g) job sharing, (h) leave to care for sick children, (i) home-working, (j) term-time contracts, (k) annual hours contracts, (l) workplace nurseries, (m) child care allowances, (n) carers' leave and (o) career break schemes; and what criteria are used to judge eligibility in each case. 53W
§ Mr. Norris
Each of the Department's executive agencies has delegated authority in all areas cited.
I have asked the chief executives of the agencies to write to the hon. Member.
Letter from R. M. Bradley to Ms Tessa Jowell, dated 7 May 1996:
I am responding on behalf of the Marine Safety Agency to your question to the Secretary of State for Transport about provision for maternity leave etc:
- (a) Maternity Leave: There is provision for a total of 52 weeks paid and unpaid maternity leave provided that no more than 41 weeks are taken after the date of birth.
- (b) Maternity Pay: There is provision for 18 weeks paid maternity leave—3 months 1 week at full pay and 4 weeks at the lower rate of statutory maternity pay.
- (c) Paternity Leave: 2 days automatically—but up to 5 days if individual circumstances merit.
- (d) Parental Leave: No specific provision—but up to 5 days may be granted to cover "urgent domestic distress".
- (e) Flexible Working Hours: Available in all MSA offices.
- (f) Part-Time Work: Requests are considered on an individual basis. There have been very few so far, and we have been able to meet the requests.
- (g) Job Sharing: We have received no requests to date. If any are received, they will be considered on an individual basis and will be met if it is possible to do so.
- (h) Leave Care for Sick Children: No specific provision—but see (d) above.
- (i) Home-working: No provision.
- (j) Term-Time Contracts: No provision.
- (k) Annual Hours Contracts: No provision.
- (l) Workplace Nurseries: No provision.
- (m) Childcare Allowances: No provision.
- (n) Carers' Leave: No provision.
- (m) Career Breaks: Up to 5 years. To date, requests have been few, and all have been met.
All cases are treated individually and are assessed according to their own merits.
Letter from Derek Harvey to Ms Tessa Jowell, dated 7 May 1996:
A copy of your question to the Secretary of State for Transport about certain conditions applicable to staff in the executive agencies within the Department of Transport has been passed to me so that I may answer you directly about the situation in VCA.
The VCA Framework Document does allow VCA delegated authority in all of the areas mentioned, however, the current position is as follows.
The provisions available to employees in VCA for (a) maternity leave, (b) maternity pay, (c) paternity leave, (d) parental leave, (g) job sharing, (h) leave care for sick children, (i) home-working, (j) term-time contracts, (k) annual hours contracts, (1) workplace nurseries, (m) childcare allowances, (n) carer's leave and (o) career break schemes and the criteria used to judge eligibility in each case are the same as those applied in the Central Transport Group (CTG) of the Department, with one exception. In the case of (e) flexible working hours VCA have retained the old level of the maximum hours to be carried forward, whereas CTG now allow an additional 4 hours and 12 minutes to be carried forward.
I hope this is helpful.54W
Letter from B. L. Herdan to Ms Tessa Jowell, dated 7 May 1996:
I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Transport to reply directly to your Parliamentary Question, number PQ1905/95/96, which is for answer on 7 May 1996.
The Driving Standards Agency's delegated authority is to determine its policies in all the areas cited in your question, although in practice it currently follows the appropriate principles as set out in the Department of Transport's Staff Handbook.
There are fixed criteria for maternity leave and pay and flexible working hours arrangements.
Those other circumstances mentioned which involve types of leave, whether paid or unpaid, are not considered as automatic entitlements but as discretionary concessions. Applications are treated sympathetically, with consideration given to the needs of the Agency and whether the application is necessary and justified.
In relation to the provision of variable working patterns, namely part-time work, job sharing, home-working, term-time contracts and annual hours contracts, the Agency either already makes them available to, or is prepared to consider adopting them for, its employees.
Although the Agency does not at present provide workplace nurseries it will consider requests for financial assistance to operate them, or the granting of an allowance towards the funding of an individual employees proposed childcare arrangements during school holidays.
Letter from Ron Oliver to Ms Tessa Jowell, dated 7 May 1996:
The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to respond to your question on what provision is available to employees of executive agencies under the control of his Department for (a) maternity leave, (b) maternity pay, (c) paternity leave, (d) parental leave, (e) flexible working hours, (f) part-time work, (g) job sharing, (h) leave care for sick children, (i) home-working, (j) term-time contracts, (k) annual hours contracts, (l) workplace nurseries, (m) childcare allowances, (n) carers' leave, and (o) career break schemes, and what criteria are used to judge eligibility in each case.
Further to Mr. Norris's Written Answer today, the information for the Vehicle Inspectorate is as follows:
- (a) Maternity leave—minimum 18 weeks, maximum 52 weeks, dependent on length of service.
- (b) Maternity pay—staff with at least one year's service may receive 3 months and one week's (or 14 weeks, if greater) full pay, followed by up to a further 4 weeks' Statutory Maternity Pay. Other staff will receive any statutory payments as appropriate.
- (c) Paternity leave—2 days entitlement, with up to a further 3 days at the discretion of line managers.
- (d) Parental leave—paid and unpaid special leave is available to staff who have adoption and fostering responsibilities, the number of days allowed by management depending on the circumstances of each case.
- (e) Flexible working hours—the Inspectorate operates schemes for this, available to all staff employed in its Headquarters offices in Bristol and Swansea, and in its Legal and Prosecution Services Office in Cambridge. Customer service requirements preclude this, however, at Heavy Goods Vehicle Testing Stations and Road Transport Enforcement offices, where flexible working patterns are more prevalent (see below).
- (f) Part-time work and (g) Job sharing—the Inspectorate encourages flexible working patterns wherever possible. About 13% of our workforce are either part-time, or job share.
- (g) Leave to care for sick children—line managers may approve up to 5 days paid special leave for this. Beyond this, unpaid special leave can also be granted.
- (h) Homeworking, Term-time contracts and Annual hours contracts—these arrangements are all available to Inspectorate staff, and requests are considered sympathetically against the exigencies of our business needs.
- (i) Workplace nurseries—the Inspectorate makes no provision for these.
- (j) Childcare allowances—the Inspectorate re-imburses staff for any additional childcare costs they might incur as a result of official business, attending training courses, etc.
- (k) Carers' leave—staff may apply for up to 5 days special leave, with pay, to care for a sick relative. Unpaid leave can also be granted for longer term care and domestic responsibilities.
- (l) Career breaks—up to 5 years special leave, without pay, can be granted for child-rearing, and full-time study. Requests are considered sympathetically, but approval is subject to the business needs of the Inspectorate, and the practicability of holding a post open for the intended period of absence.
Subject Available yes/no Current provision Eligibility criteria (a) Maternity leave Yes 18 weeks maternity leave. Available to all pregnant employees regardless of length of service or weekly hours of work. 3 weeks notice required. Unpaid leave available after paid leave ends up to 52 weeks in total. Available to staff who qualify for the 14 weeks paid maternity leave (see (b) below). (b) Maternity pay Yes 14 weeks maternity pay plus 4 weeks Statutory Maternity Pay where appropriate. Completion of 1 years paid service immediately prior to start of maternity leave. (c) Paternity leave Yes 2–5 days paid leave. Available to all fathers of new born children. Length of leave dependent on circumstances surrounding the birth, number of children in family and availability of after care support. (d) Parental leave Yes Special leave without pay available for staff who are unable to arrange for the care of their children during school holidays.Subject to individual circumstances, the demands of the work and holiday arrangements. (e) Flexible working hours [FWH] Yes FWH system allows staff considerable flexibility in attendance. Staff must attend work at certain (core) times of the day but can start and finish work each day within flexible bands. Most staff with a few exceptions e.g. Security Officers. Scheme operates to fit in with business needs. (f) Part time working Yes Since 1976 a wide range of working patterns have been on offer e.g. mid-day working to suite school hours, 2–5 days a week etc. Current 891 individuals are working part time, including staff working a job share pattern (See (g) below). Available to all staff subject to operational requirements. (g) Job sharing Yes Available since 1983. Available to all staff subject to operational requirements. (h) Leave to care for sick children Yes Up to 3 days special leave available for staff to cope with a short term crisis. Further unpaid leave may also be approved after initial period of paid leave.Available to all parents/guardians. Amount of time allowed dependent upon individual circumstances of each application. (i) Homeworking No Not applicable Not applicable (j) Term time contracts No Not Applicable Not Applicable (k) Annual hours contracts No In 1991 DVLA introduced Permanent Part year Appointments [PPYA]. Staff work first 2 weeks of month for 9 peak months of the year and at other times when required.Subject to operational requirements.
Letter from Dr. S. J. Ford to Ms Tessa Jowell, dated 7 May 1996:
As DVLA's Chief Executive I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Transport to write to you directly with the details in answer to your Parliamentary Question on a range of employee provisions.
For ease of reference I have set out the details in the attached table.
By way of background, you may wish to know that DVLA currently employs some 4,460 staff. Retention of trained, experienced staff helps to ensure that the Agency delivers a professional and efficient service to our customers. Initiatives and conditions which enable staff to combine their work and domestic responsibilities help to reduce loss of expertise. The Agency was named Employer of the Year by the Working Parents Association in 1994 in recognition of its development of family friendly initiatives and provision of support facilities.
I hope that this is helpful.57W
Subject Available yes/no Current provision Eligibility criteria (l) Workplace nursery Yes Opened June 1990 at Agency's Swansea HQ. Caters for children from 3 months–5 years. A holiday playscheme for children aged 4–12 years is also available at the Swansea site during the main school holidays. Child places are offered on a first come first served bases. Current fees are £65–68 per week. (m) Child care allowances Yes Since 1994 DVLA staff can apply for reimbursement for reasonable and unavoidable additional child care expenses.To cover expenses incurred because of official duties in excess of normal working week. (n) Carers leave Yes 3 days paid special leave available to help staff cope with a short term domestic crisis. It may be supplemented with a period of unpaid special leave.A working carers group which meets monthly was established at Swansea in 1993 to support staff who have additional responsibilities caring for elderly or disabled dependants.All staff are eligible to apply and managers are expected to exercise discretion in deciding the merits of individual cases. (o) Career breaks No Between 1988 and 1994 the Agency offered a Career Break Scheme. This had to be suspended because of difficulty in finding jobs for those who wanted to return at a time of staff surpluses. Reintroduction of the scheme is currently under consideration. Dependent on satisfactory attendance, work performance and conduct.
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Ms Tessa Jowell, dated 7 May 1996:
The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your recent question concerning the flexible working arrangements for employees of Department of Transport executive agencies. The table at Annex A shows the provisions available for Highways Agency employees. We are currently carrying out a survey which includes questions on flexible working patterns so that we can ascertain demand in the Agency and shape our response accordingly.
Provisions for HA staff are as follows: Provisions (a) Maternity leave Statutory paid and non-paid leave are available together with up to 5 years unpaid child rearing leave. (b) Maternity pay Statutory Maternity Pay is available. (c) Paternity leave Fathers may take up to 5 days paternity leave. (d) Parental leave Line management have discretion to allow staff up to 5 days continuous paid leave to care for children should domestic arrangements break down. Up to 20 days leave is available for an adoptive mother or father. (e) Flexible working hours Staff may opt to work flexible working hours. (f) Part-time work1 Staff may opt to work part-time. In practice it may take a while to find a part-time post to suit the individual. (g) Job sharing1 Staff may opt to job share. In practice it may take a while to find a job share partner to suit the post. (h) Leave to care for sick children Line management have discretion to allow staff up to 5 days continuous paid leave to are for sick children. This may be repeated at line management discretion. We would also allow long-term unpaid leave if requested although we could not guarantee a job at the time they wished to return to work.
Provisions for HA staff are as follows: Provisions (i) Home working1 We currently have one person who works from home and we will consider other cases on their merits. We are also considering whether to run a pilot scheme. (j) Term-time contracts1 We are in the process of assessing the demand for this type of flexible working pattern. (k) Annual hours contracts We do not offer this flexible working pattern but would consider it on request. (l) Workplace nurseries We do not have workplace nurseries. (m) Childcare allowances Some funding is available for holiday playschemes and we expect to be able to meet about 50 per cent, of the costs for the Agency (either via the individual or direct to a playscheme) this year. (n) Carers' leave1 Line management have discretion to allow staff up to 5 days continuous paid leave to care for children or elderly or sick relatives should domestic arrangements break down. Staff may also take unpaid leave. In practice, we could not guarantee that a job would be available after a long absence, at the time they wish to return to work. (o) Career break schemes1 Staff may take up to 1 year's career break eg to travel or improve their education. In practice, we cannot guarantee that a job would be available at the time they wish to return to work. 1 We are currently building up a database of staff interested in part-time, job sharing and other flexible working patterns so that we can assess the need and respond appropriately.
Letter from C. J. Harris to Ms Tessa Jowell, dated 7 May 1996:
The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about Maternity leave.
The Coastguard Agency has not varied the terms and conditions of employment set out in the Department of Transport Staff Handbook. Copies of which are available to all staff.
Details on specific areas are covered in the annex attached.
The rules with regards Maternity leave vary depending on the contract the member of staff has with the Agency and the length of their reckonable service.
A member of staff with over a years service is entitled to a maximum of 18 weeks paid Maternity leave and a maximum of 34 weeks unpaid leave. However an employee may only take a maximum of 41 weeks leave, paid and unpaid, after the date of birth.
For staff with over 26 weeks reckonable service but under a year the maximum length of time changes to 18 weeks paid Maternity leave and 22 weeks unpaid leave of which a maximum of 29 weeks can be taken after the birth.
Staff with less than 26 weeks service 15 weeks before the expected week of birth are entitled to 18 weeks maternity leave, unpaid except for Maternity allowance paid for by Social Security, and a further 11 weeks unpaid.
An employee is entitled to 18 weeks paid Maternity leave, of which a maximum of 11 can be taken before the birth. This is available if the employee concerned is in paid service at the time the Maternity leave begins, they are not employed on a casual basis, they are not on a fixed term appointment of less than 2 years (unless the contract specifically allows it) and that the employee intends to return to work after the childs birth.
Fathers of a new born child are entitled to 2 days leave with pay which can be taken at the time of the birth or during the following weeks. A further 3 days leave are allowed in exceptional circumstances.
A break of up to five years unpaid special leave for child rearing is available under the Agency's Career break scheme.
Flexible Working Hours
Where it is possible for flexible hours to be worked employees are given the option of working flexible or fixed hours. The scheme is open to both part and full time workers.
The Agency has a number of part time workers and would consider requests from employees to convert to part time hours on a case by case basis. All new posts are advertised as being open to applicants wanting to work full, part time or job share.
The Agency does not currently employ anyone on a job share but would consider requests on their individual merits. All new posts are advertised as being open to applicants wishing to job share.
Leave Care for Sick Children
Special Leave with pay for 1–3 days (5 days in exceptional circumstances) is available for caring for a sick child.
The Agency does not have any officers who work on a regular basis from Home but would consider requests from staff on an individual basis.
Term Time Contracts
The Agency does not currently employee anyone on a Term Time Contract but would consider any requests on an individual basis.60W
Annual Hours Contracts
The Agency does not currently employee anyone on an Annual Hours Contract but would consider any requests on an individual basis.
The Agency does not have a workplace nursery.
The Agency does not pay employees and Childcare allowances.
1 to 3 days special leave with pay is allowed (up to 5 days in exceptional circumstances) which is intended to enable alternative arrangements to be made. If these cannot be made in this time, special leave without pay may be applied for.
The Agency will consider every case on its merits and where felt necessary additional special leave with or without pay may be granted.
Career Break Schemes
The Agency does not operate a career break scheme, considering each application on its individual merits. The break can be for a maximum of 5 years Special unpaid leave and may be awarded for Child Rearing, Further/Higher Education etc.
§ Ms Jowell
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what provision is available to employees of his Department for(a) maternity leave, (b) maternity pay (c) paternity leave, (d) parental leave, (e) flexible working hours, (f) part-time work, (g) job sharing, (h) leave to care for sick children, (i) home-working, (j) term-time contracts, (k) annual hours contracts, (l) workplace nurseries, (m) child care allowances, (n) carers' leave and (o) career break schemes; and what criteria are used to judge eligibility in each case. 
§ Mr. Norris
The following provisions are available to staff in the central transport group of the Department of Transport:
- (a) Maternity leave—minimum of 18 weeks, maximum of 52 weeks—dependent on length of service;
- (b) Maternity pay—staff with at least one years' service staff may receive three months and one weeks' full pay followed by up to a further four weeks statutory maternity pay. Other staff will receive any statutory payments as appropriate;
- (c) Paternity leave—fathers are entitled to two to five days at the discretion of line managers;
- (d) Parental leave—in addition to maternity and paternity leave, the central transport group also offers staff up to one years' leave (mixture of paid and unpaid) for adopting a child and up to 20 days, per year, special leave to enable foster parents to attend meetings etc;
- (e) Flexible working hours—central transport group operates a flexible working hours scheme which is available to staff in most areas of CTG. Staff who work part-time or who may be casual employees are not exempt from working flexible working hours;
- (f) Part-time work—the central transport group aims to agree applications for part-time working where ever possible as a matter of departmental equal opportunities policy;
- (g) Job sharing—where ever possible CTG will aim to agree applications from job shares;
- (h) Leave to care for sick children—line managers may approve up to a maximum of five days' paid special leave may be granted to look after a sick child;
- (i) Home working—the central transport group looks at each application for home working and treats as appropriate;
- (j) Term time contracts—as per (i);
- (k) Annual hours contract—as per (i);
- (l) Workplace nurseries—the central transport group offers places to staff in its Hastings office;
- (m) Child care allowance—where staff incur extra child care costs as a result of departmental business, training courses etc., the central transport group meets such costs;
- (n) Carers' leave—Staff may apply for up to five days' special leave with pay to care for a sick relative. Special leave without pay may be approved when it is necessary for a member of staff to care for elderly or infirm relatives. Special leave without pay for up to 12 months may be granted to a member of staff who has borne heavy domestic responsibilities over a long period.
- (o) Career break—long term special leave without pay, for a period not exceeding five years, is available to staff for reasons including: raising children, accompanying partners abroad, full time study.