Time Off for Civic Roles – Statutory changes to time off rights ruled outWednesday, November 4th, 2009
In September 2008, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published a consultation document entitled Standing for Office: Time-Off Entitlements. It is available at www.communities.gov.uk/documents/communities/pdf/976040.pdf.
The Employment Rights Act 1996 already provides time-off rights for employees to perform specified public duties, such as a magistrate or as a member of a local authority, police authority, school council and so on. There is no statutory right for such time off to be with pay. The consultation document proposed extending the list of public duties to include a wider range of civic duties, namely
- members of Probation Boards and Board members of Probation Trusts
- members of Court Boards
- Youth Offender Panel members
- lay advisers assisting Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements
- co-opted Overview and Scrutiny Committee members.
In addition, the consultation sought views on whether the statutory rights should be extended for the first time to governance roles in the social housing sector and to non-statutory roles in organisations delivering public services, such as charity trustees.
In March 2009, DCLG published a summary of consultation responses and in October 2009 the Government’s response was issued. The decision is not to extend the legislation, at least at the present time, but for the Government to work with employer organisations, including the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Business, to develop a campaign and produce an information pack to encourage people to volunteer for civic roles and to encourage employers to view time away from the workplace as part of an individual’s training and development.
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