Overview

Learn the rules for staff going on leave (including maternity, paternity, adoption, and shared parental) – and what unused leave can be rolled forward.

You can also complete IPSA Online tasks including organising annual leave, family leave, and other types leave (including jury service, unpaid leave, and reservist duties).

You can also access forms for adoption pay, maternity, paternity, and shared parental pay – and more.

Scheme rules

IPSA will cover the costs of staff on maternity, paternity or adoptive leave. Or for those staff on long-term sick leave (for example, longer than two weeks).

IPSA will also cover the costs of staff who are UK armed forces reservists and have been granted special paid leave to participate in mandatory training, up to 15 days per staff member per year. [7.15]

This will come out of a central staff absence budget. This is to make room in your staffing budget in the event you need to seek cover for staff who are absent. [7.16]

The following tasks provide support on how to request leave:

Booking annual leave

MPs who wish to take time off after the birth or adoption of a child are eligible for funding to provide cover for their office during their absence. This will be paid from the MP parental leave cover fund. [10.12]

Such funding for cover will normally be provided for a maximum period of seven months for the biological mother or primary adopter, and two weeks for the biological father, partner or second adopter. Longer periods and/or alternative arrangements may be agreed on a case-by-case basis. [10.13]

These time periods align with the current arrangements for proxy voting in the House of Commons. They refer to the amount of funding provided and are not intended to restrict the length of time away from work an MP may take.

The funding does not need to be used for cover over one continuous period. MPs who are planning a period of parental leave should contact IPSA at the earliest opportunity to discuss the funding and other arrangements that can be provided.

MPs who request funding for cover during a period of parental leave must either provide IPSA with a Maternity Certificate (Form MAT B1) or a matching certificate from an adoption agency or have an agreed proxy voting arrangement for parental leave in place. [10.14]

MPs may choose how to arrange cover during a period of parental leave. The use of IPSA funding for this purpose is subject to the normal rules on staffing costs, including the requirements for staff to be employed on a standard IPSA contract and job description and to be paid within the standard salary range for their job role. [10.15]

For more information visit MPs taking leave for the birth or adoption of a child.

The maximum untaken leave that can be rolled forward from one leave year to the next is five working days, unless the employee has been prevented from taking that leave due to sickness absence, maternity, paternity or adoption leave.

This applies only to new staff contracts from 1 April 2017 onwards. [7.23]

Using IPSA Online

The HR functions within IPSA Online are optional but it may help you to manage your office .

Staff can book a wide range of absences directly onto the system. The Payroll Proxy can then approve or reject the absence using Task Management. While the following guidance focuses on annual leave, all absence types (apart from sickness) work in the same way, and follow the same steps.

The system automatically takes weekends and work schedules into account.

You can also check your annual leave balances on IPSA Online. As we have both part-time and full-time staff, annual leave balances are displayed in hours. When you book annual leave it will show you the amount in days and hours. If you wish to find out your annual leave in days, simply divide the hours of annual leave available by the number of hours you work in a day. All work patterns and bank holidays (this includes Scotland and Northern Ireland) have been programmed into the system. This means when you book time off, you are only spending annual leave on days you would actually be working.

  1. Note!

    To book annual leave, open IPSA Online.

  2. Step1

    Select the Main menu tab.

  3. Step2

    Select the Your employment tab on the left-hand side.

  4. Step3

    Select Absences from the menu.

    From this page you can also view Drafts, Absence requests in progress and Approved absence requests.

  5. Step4

    Select the Absence request button.

  6. Step5

    Select the Reason drop-down arrow and select Annual leave.

    Any fields with a red asterisk are mandatory and MUST be completed.

  7. Step6

    Use the Calendar icons to select the first and last day of annual leave.

  8. Step7

    Select whether the annual leave is a full or half day.

  9. Step8

    If you have any additional which can help your manager decide if you can have the dates requested you can include it here.

  10. Step9

    Select Submit at the bottom of the screen.

    Your request for annual leave will now go to your manager for approval via Task management. Once approved you will receive an alert. Your annual leave entitlement will automatically be updated.

  11. Step10

    Select OKin the confirmation window.

  12. Step11

    You can now close the Absences tab.

Casual staff will still fill out overtime forms for the hours they have worked. Based on these hours they will accrue holiday pay.

This holiday used to be saved until the staff member requested it or they left at which point they were paid all of their accrued holiday pay.

Casual staff will continue to complete overtime forms as normal in IPSA Online.

  1. Note!

  2. Step1

    Selecting Regular time as their rate. Holiday pay will then be calculated based on these hours as normal.

  3. Step2

    Instead of requesting some of their holiday pay, or being paid the entire amount when they leave, each month the calculated holiday pay will be added to their monthly salary and paid monthly. This additional pay will appear as a new line on their payslip.

For further information, visit Approving and rejecting staff overtime.

You can check the status of any type of form you have submitted to Payroll by using IPSA Online.

  1. Note!

    Open IPSA Online.

  2. Step1

    On the Main menu navigate to the Forms section on the left-hand side of the screen.

    Select the type of form you would like to check from the list displayed.

  3. Step2

    Under the heading: Form ID – Please leave set as [NEW] and the system will generate a new ID.

  4. Step3

    Select the drop-down menu on the right, and choose Value lookup.

  5. Step4

    A pop-up will appear. Select Search.

  6. Step5

    Scroll down and select the click on the number from the list under Attribute value.

    From here you can view the progress of the form you have submitted.

Downloads

Guidance

We are committed to supporting MPs with families.

This includes support to MPs who are taking time away from Parliament and their constituency on the birth or adoption of a child.

As independent office-holders, MPs are not employees and therefore are not eligible for statutory maternity, paternity or adoption leave. In practice, many MPs who are new parents do take time away from Parliament following the arrival of a baby.

There are no formal procedures or requirements in place in Parliament or within the political parties to take leave.

MPs who become new parents can apply to the Speaker of the House of Commons to vote by proxy. For more information, read the text of the scheme currently in force. Further details on eligibility and how to apply for a parental proxy vote are available from the Clerk of Divisions. They can be contacted by email at pbohoc@parliament.uk or by calling extension 4921.

If you require advice on proxy voting, please email proceduralhub@parliament.uk, or by calling extension 3302.

How IPSA supports MPs’ family lives

We recognise the importance of balancing work and home life, and offer the following support to MPs taking leave on the arrival of a baby:

  • MPs are paid their full salary throughout their period of leave

  • MPs continue to have full access to all their budgets that support their work, such as office, accommodation, staffing and travel costs

  • MPs can receive funding for additional staff to cover their absence

  • MPs and their office can have a single point of contact at IPSA to assist them during the period of parental leave

Requesting funding for cover

If you wish to arrange cover in your constituency office for your parliamentary functions whilst on leave, IPSA will fund the cost of the cover. You may choose to arrange cover by amending existing staff job roles and/or their hours or by employing a new member of staff.

The Scheme of MPs’ Staffing and Business Costs requires that MPs’ staff must be employed to do work that complies with one or more of the IPSA job descriptions and that their salary is within the relevant range for the job description.

Please complete the form Application to the contingency fund: MP parental leave cover, providing details about the cover you have chosen.

Please also provide a MATB1 Form or a "matching certificate" from a registered adoption agency.

Send the completed form by email to contingencypayments@theipsa.org.uk.

We will then advise on the next steps regarding the contract(s) of employment.

We publish information about MPs' staffing and business costs. Funding for any cover will be published under the contingency budget. It will be published during IPSA’s Annual Publication and in the annual spend against the contingency budget alongside any other contingency payment. It will also be published as an application for an uplift to your contingency budget.

If you would like any advice before completing the form, please contact info@theipsa.org.uk for the attention of IPSA’s Director of MP Services.

Returning to work

IPSA provides the following support for MPs with families:

  • uplift to the accommodation budget of £5,435 a year for each child for whom they need to provide accommodation, up to a maximum of three uplifts

  • the cost of hotel accommodation for their children, up to £175 per night in the London area and £150 elsewhere

  • the cost of journeys for children between the constituency and London

  • the cost of a carer’s journey where the children need to be accompanied

For more information, visit Registering a dependant.

For more information on eligibility and procedures, please visit the Scheme of MPs’ Staffing and Business Costs.

Further information and advice

If you need any additional information or advice, please email MP Support: info@theipsa.org.uk, or to Payroll: payroll@theipsa.org.uk.

If you would like to speak to an advisor, please use the IPSA call booking service.

The Working Time Directive 1998 entitles all staff members to a minimum of 28 days of annual leave.

This can include the eight public/bank holidays. This is pro-rated for part-time staff. There is a minimum allowance of 20 days that must be taken in the year.

Staff members employed since 15 April 2015 have a leave year starting on 1 January and this should not be changed. The leave entitlement is shown in the employment contract and may rise with length of service within the first three years.

Staff members are encouraged to take their full annual leave entitlement within the leave year to ensure a healthy work-life balance.

Pro rating leave for part-time staff

If a staff member works part-time it is best practice to include the entitlement to eight days public/bank holidays as part of the calculation. This is to ensure that there is no possibility of them losing out because of the days they work and the way the bank and public holidays fall.

How is this calculated in days?

If a staff member works 22.5 hours over three days a week and their full-time equivalent (FTE) hours are 37.5 per week and 33 days annual leave per year including eight public/bank holidays (25 + 8)

22.5 hours / 37.5 FTE hours = 0.60 x 33 FTE annual leave days, inc bank holidays = 19.80 days

Rounded up to 20 days Part Time Annual Leave including public/bank holidays

How is this calculated in hours?

As many part-timers also work a varied work schedule or their hours worked differ from to day-to-day or week-to-week, the calculation below provides the leave allowance in hours rather than days.

For example:

If someone works a total of 28 hours over five days, three days of six hours and two days of five hours.

If the working week of a full-time employee is 37.5 hours, then the part-time employee is working 28/37.5 of a full-time week.

Pro rate the full-time leave entitlement. If the employee has a full-time leave equivalent of 25 days and eight public/bank holidays, then the pro-rata calculation is:

28 hours / 37.5 full-time hours = 0.75 x 33 full-time annual leave days, including bank holidays (25+8) = 24.75 days

Assuming a standard 7.5-hour work day, then the employee would have 7.5 x 24.75 = 185.625 hours of leave.

Rounded up to the nearest half hour = 186.00 hours

In these instances, staff members must then take any public/bank holidays from their annual leave entitlement.

If you have any queries please contact a member of IPSA payroll who will be able to help you.

Carry over leave (Scheme 7.23)

Any new staff members are not to carry forward more than five days annual leave in any leave year unless they have been prevented from doing so due to sickness absence, maternity, paternity or adoption leave.

Please refer to paragraph 7.23 of the Scheme of MP’s Business Costs and Expenses 2020-21.

Managing annual leave

It is the responsibility of staff and their managers to keep a record of all annual leave within the office.

This will make it easier to know who has taken leave out of their entitlement and enable the MP to monitor that staff are at least taking their statutory requirement.

Calculating annual leave for casual workers

Casual workers accrue annual leave pay based on their hours worked. Their annual leave entitlement (the rate at which they accrue annual leave) is specified in the staff member’s contract and is between 28 and 38 days per annum.

To calculate the amount of annual leave due, casual workers must add up the total of hours worked/claimed and use the casual holiday calculator to work out the exact total hours due to be paid or taken. This calculator is on our website here.

If the casual workers take their annual leave, they must put these hours on their timesheet as Holiday Pay, not normal hours which would suggest they have worked rather than been on leave.

To help the casual workers and to help the MP with their budget we can pay these hours due to the casual workers on a quarterly basis (June, September, December, March), or a monthly basis if the MP would prefer.

This will reduce errors and ensure that the MP has up to date spend figures in their budget rather than having an unexpected large claim at the end of the casual workers’ contract.

If someone is conducting a short-term assignment (for example for three days only). Then it would be more straightforward to pay the casual worker three days plus their entitlement to annual leave as it is not practicable to take annual leave during a three-day assignment.

If you have any queries, please contact a member of IPSA payroll who will be able to help you.

Calculating annual leave for term-time staff

Term-time staff work only when the house is in session or the staff member’s children are at school.

They accrue annual leave based on the number of weeks worked across the year. This is done by multiplying the annual leave entitlement and the bank holiday entitlement by the number of weeks worked and dividing by 52 (the number of weeks in the year). For example:

25 + 8 bank holidays annual leave for someone working 39 weeks across the year would be 33/52 x 39 = 24.75 days.

This should then be multiplied by the full-time daily hours to give the calculation in hours. Therefore for someone who works 37.5 hours per week, the annual leave should be multiplied by 7.5 (hours worked each day). This is 24.75 x 7.5 = 185.62 or 186.0 when rounded to the nearest half-hour.

If the staff member works part-time, the above calculation needs to be pro-rated in accordance with the number of hours worked across the week.

Compressed hours

It is important to inform IPSA if a member of staff is working compressed hours. IPSA can produce a contract to reflect this agreement.

Payment or recovery of annual leave

Upon leaving the calculation for the payment/recovery of annual leave to MPs’ Staff is:

Days: Annual Basic Salary / 260 = daily annual leave rate x numbers of days due or overtaken

Hours: Annual Basic Salary / 52 / Weekly working Hours = hourly rate x number of hours due or overtaken

If there are any further questions not covered within this guidance, please contact Members HR on 020 7219 2080 or by email to: membershr@parliament.uk.

Maternity leave

If a staff member is pregnant, it is important to notify the line manager/MP in writing as soon as possible and no later than the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. The original MATB1 Form must be given to the MP as the employer.

It is important the staff member confirms they wish to take maternity leave (note the first two weeks are compulsory), the date they want to take it from and the week in which the baby is due.

The staff member should refer to their contract of employment and/or addendum on our website to ascertain their maternity entitlements.

The Maternity Leave Notification Form must be completed and emailed to payroll@theipsa.org.uk, along with a copy of the MATB1 Form.

For information on entitlements please read the Family leave addendum.

If a staff member wishes to return from maternity leave early, they need to inform the MP eight weeks in advance so that preparations can be made for the staff members return.

Sickness prior to maternity leave

Maternity leave will automatically start four weeks before the baby is due if the staff member is off work for pregnancy-related illness.

If the baby arrives early the leave will start on the day after the birth.

IPSA must be informed of this by email to: payroll@theipsa.org.uk.

Paternity leave

Paternity leave is granted to those staff members who are taking time off to support the mother or primary carer for the baby or child and intend to be part of their upbringing.

The entitlement is two consecutive weeks. The payment during paternity leave is dependent on the length of service.

Please refer to the addendum in your contract or on the IPSA website for further details of the qualifying periods.

IPSA must be informed of this period of leave once agreed with the MP.

Please complete the Paternity Leave Notification Form and email it to: payroll@theipsa.org.uk.

Adoption leave

It is important to notify the line manager/MP in writing as soon as possible when a staff member is matched with a child for adoption and they wish to take adoption leave – ideally within seven days of being notified (unless this is not reasonably practicable).

Staff members will need to provide their line manager/MP with documentary proof of the adoption. This is usually a matching certificate from the adoption agency.

Staff members must also notify their line manager/MP when they expect the child to be placed with them and when they want their adoption leave to start. They can change their adoption leave start date so long as they give their line manager/MP at least 28 days’ notice unless agreed otherwise.

The staff member should refer to their contract of employment and/or addendum to ascertain their adoption pay and leave entitlements.

The Adoption Leave Notification Form should be completed and emailed, with a copy of the matching certificate, to: payroll@theipsa.org.uk.

If a staff member wishes to return from adoption leave early, they must inform the MP eight weeks in advance so that preparations can be made for the staff members return.

The MP should contact Members HR on 020 7219 2080 or email membershr@parliament.uk for information regarding entitlements and any risk assessment needed.

Shared parental leave

Under the Shared Parental Leave (SPL) system eligible staff members will have the right to share up to a maximum of 52 weeks’ leave, which does not need to be consecutive. The first two weeks leave are compulsory for women on maternity leave.

When a notice of entitlement and intention to take SPL is submitted, the mother/main adopter must complete the Shared Parental Leave Notification Form and give them to their line manager/MP and IPSA.

If the mother is only entitled to maternity allowance (and not maternity leave) her notice of curtailment must be submitted to Jobcentre Plus. Her maternity allowance cannot be reinstated, so she is in effect giving consent for her partner to take the whole of any SPL entitlement.

If a staff member wishes to return from shared parental leave early, they must inform the MP eight weeks in advance so that preparations can be made for the staff members return.

For information regarding entitlements and any risk assessment, the MP should contact Members HR on 020 7219 2080 or by email to: membershr@parliament.uk

Staff absence budget

The salary cost for the absent member of staff will be automatically transferred to the staff absence budget, from the first day of leave, as soon as IPSA are informed.

In such cases, an MP may wish to have some support in the office to cover the absence. This cover will be funded from the normal staffing budget.

Returning to work earlier

If a staff member chooses to return from work earlier than the proposed return date, they need to have a discussion with their MP and provide adequate notice, in line with the statutory minimum, to ensure the necessary arrangements for their return are made.

KIT and SPLIT days

Staff members on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave are able to work for up to ten "Keeping in Touch" (KIT) and 20 “Shared Parental Leave in Touch” (SPLIT) days without losing occupational family pay (covering maternity, adoption, paternity, and shared parental leave collectively) provided the MP gives advance approval.

Any type of work can be conducted on a KIT/SPLIT day including training, conferences and meetings but the staff member must be working. They are voluntary during family leave.

Please complete the KIT or SPLIT Day Payment Form and email them to: payroll@theipsa.org.uk.

KIT or SPLIT days are paid at the employee’s usual full-time pay rate, regardless of how many hours are worked on a particular day. Therefore, if the staff member is in receipt of SMP only or is receiving no pay, they will receive a full day’s pay.

The calculation for this is:

Annual Salary / 12 / working days in the month = daily rate due per KIT/SPLIT day worked

In other words, this is your monthly salary divided by the working days in the month you came to work a KIT day. This can be between 20 and 23 days depending on the month. This means the rate may vary in accordance with the month it is served.

Unpaid parental leave

If a staff member has completed one year’s service with their MP, they are entitled to 18 weeks unpaid parental leave for each child born or adopted.

The maximum unpaid leave allowed in any one year is four weeks.

Please complete the Unpaid Parental Leave Form.

Caring Leave

Staff members have a right to take a reasonable period off work to deal with caring or unforeseen circumstances and emergencies involving a dependant.

Up to five days per year can be taken at full pay at the discretion of the MP. Any additional leave is either taken as annual leave or unpaid leave, which needs to be reported to IPSA.

Please complete the Caring Leave Notification Form.

Annual leave on family leave

Annual leave continues to accrue while on family/parental leave. It is recommended this is taken either at the beginning or the end of the family leave. At the MP’s discretion, some of it may be carried into the next leave year.

Redundancy and family leave

Staff members who are on family leave and are made redundant should be given their normal contractual or statutory notice and can be paid for their pay in lieu of notice.

Pay award and family leave

If an MP awards pay increases to all their staff, the same consideration must also be given to a staff member who is on family leave.

Time off in lieu

Any accrued time off in lieu must be taken before a staff member begins their family leave.

Childcare vouchers

If a staff member is in receipt of Childcare Vouchers before they go off on maternity/adoption leave, they are entitled to continue receiving them for the duration of their maternity/adoption leave (up to 52 weeks) even if they have no salary to sacrifice.

The MP must, therefore, take the full cost of these vouchers as expenditure against their staffing budget.

Employers pension contribution

While a member of staff is in receipt of statutory maternity, adoption or paternity pay the MP will continue to pay full employers pension contributions (10%).

Over-payment recoveries

If a member of staff is having any salary over-payment recoveries while on family leave, these will cease when they go on to statutory pay only and be restarted upon their return to work.

Should the member of staff not return to work, IPSA will write to them for the outstanding monies owed.

Statutory money reclaim

MPs are classed as small employers and they will automatically receive 103% reclaim against statutory maternity/adoption/paternity and shared parental pay in their staffing budget.

Flexible working requests

MPs’ Staff have the option to submit a flexible working request prior to returning from family leave.

MP’s should seek any advice from Members HR relating to these cases.

MP ceases to be an Office Holder

If a staff member is on family leave and their MP ceases to be an Office Holder, the staff member will continue to receive any entitlement to occupational family pay until their last day of service. Any remaining statutory family entitlement will be paid in full in the staff member’s final salary.

If there are any further questions not covered within this guidance, please contact Members HR on 020 7219 2080 or by email to: membershr@parliament.uk

Time off for public duties

Time off for public duties will be available in line with the Employment Rights Act 1996. The amount of time off will depend on the nature of the duties. Time off may be paid or unpaid which is also dependent on the MP’s business needs as to the time off requested.

Jury service

If a staff member is required to undertake jury service staff members will continue to be paid their normal salary, irrelevant of the length of time the hearing may be for. You must provide suitable documentation to your MP and IPSA.

Unpaid leave

A staff member may wish to take some time out of their role to advance their career development, care for a relative, or other professional and personal reasons. The staff member may want to use unpaid leave. This is left at the discretion of the MP.

Unpaid leave should be of short duration and agreed in writing with the MP to confirm the terms and conditions.

The MP should contact Members HR for advice before agreeing to this in writing. Members HR can be contacted on 020 7219 2080 or by email to membershr@parliament.uk

Reservist duties

If a staff member undertakes mandatory training as an armed forces reservist during work time, their employer MP may decide whether to allow them annual leave, paid special leave or unpaid leave to do this.

If they take annual leave, their salary will continue to come out of the MPs’ normal staffing budget during this time. Cover for the staff member may be arranged, but this cost will also need to be paid from the normal staffing budget.

Where the staff member is granted paid special leave in order to undertake mandatory training, their salary costs will be allocated to the staff absence budget for the period of leave. Cover could then be arranged using the normal staffing budget. To access this funding, an absence form should be submitted on IPSA Online, selecting ‘Reservists duties paid’ as the reason.

If the staff member takes unpaid leave for reservist training, the MP must inform IPSA so that their pay can be adjusted appropriately. They should do this using an Unpaid Leave Form.

If the reservist is mobilised, they will be paid through funds administered by the Ministry of Defence.

Party-political activities

If any staff members take time off for any party-political activities, such as campaigning at local or general elections, IPSA must be informed, as this period will be unpaid.

The staff member may take annual leave or use up any accrued time off in lieu to undertake these activities.

During any period of unpaid leave, the contract of employment will remain for purposes of accruing continuous service with the MP.

Suspension on pay

Staff members will continue to accrue annual leave while on a period of suspension.

Continuous service

If staff members are on a period of leave for any of the above reasons, it will still be counted as continuous service.

Staff on loan

If an MP has any staff members who are on loan (for example, the Welsh Assembly) they should contact Members HR on 020 7219 2080.

If there are any further questions not covered within this guide, please contact Members HR on 020 7219 2080 or at membershr@parliament.uk

Contact IPSA

To get additional support, book a call back.