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 get help to complete IPSA Online tasks – including organising annual leave, family leave, and other types of 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.

Alongside the family leave addendum, you may also find these tools from gov.uk useful:

Scheme rules

The following costs will be met centrally from a staff absence budget and will not be deducted from MPs’ staffing budgets:

  • costs of staff who are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave;

  • costs of staff who are on long-term sick leave (i.e. longer than two weeks), and

  • costs of staff who are UK armed forces reservists and have been granted special paid leave in order to participate in mandatory training in connection with their role in the reserve forces, up to 15 days per staff member per year [7.12]

The costs of staff to cover for those absent above will be met from MPs’ staffing budgets.

MPs should not make arrangements that will take them over their staffing budget limit. [7.13]

Read more about Booking annual leave.

MPs who take time off after the birth or adoption of a child, or for other reasons such as illness, are eligible for funding to provide cover for their office during their absence (normally where this is longer than three months).

This will be paid from the MP parental leave and absence budget, subject to a maximum as set out in the Summary of 2022-23 budgets. [10.14]

For new parents, funding for cover will normally be provided for a maximum period of seven months for the biological parent or primary adopter.

Longer periods and/or alternative arrangements may be agreed on a case-by-case basis. In cases of illness or absence for other reasons, the period of absence will be agreed on a case-by-case basis.

The funding provided does not need to be used for cover over one continuous period. [10.15]

MPs who request funding for cover during a period of absence must provide evidence as required by IPSA and set out in Funding to support MP parental leave & absence. [10.16]

MPs may choose how to arrange cover during a period of absence.

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. [10.17]

For more information visit Funding to support MP parental leave & absence.

All new staff contracts must stipulate that the maximum amount of 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 requirement cannot be enforced in contracts in place before 1 April 2017. [7.21]

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 OK in the confirmation window.

  12. Step11

    You can now close the Absences tab.

Casual staff must complete Overtime Forms in IPSA Online. for the hours they have worked, even though they are not employed on a full-time basis.

The hours worked should be claimed as Regular Time.

Based on the hours logged casual staff will accrue holiday pay.

  1. Note!

  2. Step1

    In the MP Staff Overtime & Casual Claim Form all relevant information about the hours worked should be included.

    In the Rate field, select Regular time .

    Holiday pay will then be calculated based on these hours.

  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 will appear as a new line on their payslip.

For further information, visit Approving and rejecting staff overtime.

Staff can request maternity leave using the form in IPSA Online.

The form must be completed no later than the 15th week before the estimated week of the arrival of the child.

Once submitted, an alert will be sent to the MP or Proxy for approval.

For further guidance, read the Family leave addendum.

  1. Note!

    To apply for maternity leave, open IPSA Online.

  2. Step1

    Select the Main menu tab.

  3. Step2

    Select the Forms tab on the left of the screen.

  4. Step3

    Select MP Staff Maternity Leave Request Form from the menu.

  5. Step4

    Complete the Form description field with your name, the date and "maternity leave".

  6. Step5

    In the Maternity details tab, under Resource details the following details will be added automatically:

    • your name

    • cost centre

    • your National Insurance number

    • the name of the MP you work for

    • the date the form was raised

  7. Step6

    Select the EWC (Expected Week of Childbirth) calendar and enter the EWC or date child was born.

  8. Step7

    Select the Maternity leave begins calendar, and then select the appropriate date.

  9. Step8

    Select the Return from maternity and select the appropriate date.

  10. Step9

    A Maternity Certificate (MATB1 Form) enables a pregnant woman to claim Statutory Maternity Pay from their employer.

    The certificate:

    • verifies the pregnancy

    • confirms the date of the expected week of confinement

    • confirms the actual date of birth when completed after confinement

    Doctors or registered midwives must issue form MATB1 free of charge to their pregnant patients for whom they provide clinical care.

    To attach a MATB1 form either select Save as Draft or Submit Form to generate a form ID. Then select the paperclip icon to attach the from.

    Then select the MATB1 attached box.

    Enter the correct date in the Date MATB1 attached box.

  11. Step10

    Select Submit form.

Staff can request paternity leave using the form in IPSA Online.

The form must be completed no later than the 15th week before the estimated week of the arrival of the child.

Standard paternity leave is two weeks.

Once submitted, an alert will be sent to the MP or Proxy for approval.

For further guidance, read the Family leave addendum.

  1. Note!

    To apply for paternity leave, open IPSA Online.

  2. Step1

    Select the Main menu tab.

  3. Step2

    Select the Forms tab on the left of the screen.

  4. Step3

    Select MP Staff Paternity Leave Request Form from the menu.

  5. Step4

    Complete the Form description field with your name, the date and "paternity leave".

  6. Step5

    In the Paternity details tab, under Resource details the following details will be completed automatically:

    • your name

    • cost centre

    • your National Insurance number

    • the name of the MP you work for

    • the date the form was raised

  7. Step6

    Select the EWC (Expected Week of Childbirth) calendar and enter the EWC or date child was born.

  8. Step7

    Select the Start date of leave calendar, and then select the appropriate date.

  9. Step8

    Select the End date of leave and select the appropriate date.

  10. Step9

    Confirm you have read and understood the Declaration.

  11. Step10

    Select Submit form.

Staff can apply for adoption leave using the online form in IPSA Online.

This form must be completed no later than the 15th week before the estimated week of the arrival of the child.

Once submitted, an alert will be sent to the MP or Proxy for approval.

For further guidance, read the Family leave addendum.

  1. Note!

    To apply for adoption leave, open IPSA Online.

  2. Step1

    Select the Main menu tab.

  3. Step2

    Select the Forms tab on the left of the screen.

  4. Step3

    Select the MP Staff Adoption Notification Form from the menu.

  5. Step4

    Complete the Form description field with your name, the date and Adoption leave.

  6. Step5

    In the Adoption leave request tab, under Resource details the following details will be completed automatically:

    • your name

    • cost centre

    • your National Insurance number

    • the name of the MP you work for

    • the date the form was raised

  7. Step6

    Under Adoption details select the Adoption leave start date calendar icon and choose the appropriate date.

  8. Step7

    Under Adoption details select the Adoption leave end date calendar icon and select the appropriate date.

  9. Step8

    If you are attaching the Matching Certificate, first select Save as Draft or Submit Form to generate a form ID and then select the paperclip icon.

    Then select the Matching Cert. attached box.

  10. Step9

    If you are adopting from overseas, fill in the relevant sections.

  11. Step10

    Complete the Declaration.

  12. Step11

    Select Submit form.

Staff can complete the Shared Parental Leave Form in IPSA Online.

This form must be completed at least eight weeks before the start date of the first period of shared parental leave.

Once submitted, an alert will be sent to the MP or Proxy for approval.

For further guidance, read the Family leave addendum.

  1. Note!

    To apply for shared parental leave, open IPSA Online.

  2. Step1

    Select the Main menu tab.

  3. Step2

    Select the Forms tab on the left of the screen.

  4. Step3

    Select the MP Shared Parental Leave Form from the menu.

  5. Step4

    Complete the Form description field with your name, the date and "shared parental leave".

  6. Step5

    In the Shared parental leave tab, under Resource details the following details will be added automatically:

    • your name

    • cost centre

    • your National Insurance number

    • the name of the MP you work for

    • the date the form was raised

  7. Step6

    Use the Calendar icons to select Child's expected date of birth/date of placement for adoption, Actual date of birth, and the Start and End dates of leave.

  8. Step7

    Use the Calendar icons to select the start and end dates for maternity leave the mother/main adopter will take, or the maternity allowance period if the mother/main adopter is not entitled to statutory leave.

  9. Step8

    Enter the number of weeks leave the mother/main adopter had.

  10. Step9

    Enter the number of weeks you wish to take.

  11. Step10

    Use the Calendar icon to select your start and end dates of shared parental leave.

  12. Step11

    Select the I Confirm tick box.

  13. Step12

    Only complete the Notice of curtailment section if you are the mother or main adopter. Select the the End leave date calendar and select the appropriate date.

  14. Step13

    Read the Employee declaration carefully.

  15. Step14

    Complete all fields with details of the other parent.

  16. Step15

    Please read the Declaration carefully.

  17. Step16

    Select Submit form.

The My Team Absence Report can be used in IPSA Online to display the holidays your staff have booked during the current calendar year.

The report is only available under an MP’s login.

The report can be run at any time. New absences will be displayed as soon as are approved by the office manager.

  1. Note!

    Open IPSA Online.

  2. Step1

    From the Main menu select Your employment.

  3. Step2

    Select My Team Absence.

  4. Step3

    A report for the current calendar year will open.

    You can view staff holidays by week, month, or year.

  5. Step4

    If your staff use IPSA Online to book their holiday, you can see their names on the calendar.

    By hovering over their names, you can see the exact dates they have booked.

There are 11 payroll forms which MP staff and MPs can track on the Form Tracker in IPSA Online.

The tracker will tell you the status of the form and who it is with to be actioned.

The process is the same for each of the 11 forms, but each tracker must be set up individually.

The forms are:

  • Reward and Recognition Form

  • MP Staff Leaver Form

  • Contractual Changes Form

  • MP Staff Maternity Leave Request Form

  • MP Staff Adoption Notification Form

  • MP Staff Paternity Leave Request Form

  • MP Staff Shared Parental Leave Form

  • Volunteer's Personal Details Change

  • Season Ticket Request Form

  • Bike Loan Form

  • MP Proxy Form (only MPs can submit this form)

  1. Note!

    Open IPSA Online.

    Naming convention tip

    The best way to use the tracker is to have a naming convention so you can differentiate between submitted forms. We suggest:

    Title of the form / To whom it relates / Date the form was submitted

    Submit your form.

    Once an MP or a proxy has submitted the form you can visit the Form Trackers to check its status.

  2. Step1

    In the main menu, select Reports from the left-hand menu.

  3. Step2

    Select the MP Reports menu dropdown.

  4. Step3

    Select the Form Trackers dropdown.

    Select the form you want to track from the list.

  5. Step4

    You can now view the status of the form you have submitted under the Form Status column.

    If there is an Action Needed flag, it will also be marked with a red block.

    "For action with [name]" means the form is with the named individual to action.

    If the form is Complete, and no further action is required, it will be marked with a green block.

    The form has been approved by the MP/Proxy and has been processed by us

  6. Step5

    If the form is In Progress, it will be marked with an orange block.

    "For action with IPSA" means the form has been approved by the MP/Proxy and is with us to action.

    If the form has been fully approved and is with us, it will be processed before the next pay run at the end of the month.

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 form number from the list under Attribute value.

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

Downloads

Guidance

Following representations from Office Managers, IPSA will facilitate a system whereby a limited number of accrued annual leave days may be "sold back".

Taking annual leave is imperative for staff to rest, recuperate and be productive.

This is particularly the case given the difficult circumstances MPs and their staff have experienced over the past two years.

However, the pandemic has resulted in some staff building up excessive amounts of annual leave and while we hope that staff will be able to take that leave, we wish to provide this temporary option to sell some leave as a tool to manage this unusual situation.

The legal position

  • MPs – not IPSA nor the House – are employers, and decisions on how leave is booked, taken and recorded are for the MP to manage.

  • By law, all workers are expected to take at least 5.6 weeks of leave per leave year, pro-rated for part-time staff. The 5.6 weeks is termed statutory annual leave.

  • There are different contractual arrangements for carrying over annual leave, dependent upon which contract MPs’ staff have – the majority have an IPSA contract allowing up to five days’ carry over into the next leave year.

  • In response to the coronavirus crisis a change was made to the Working Time Regulations which came into force on the night of 26 March 2020 which enabled staff unable to take leave due to COVID to roll over up to four weeks of unused leave into the next two leave years. This means, for most:

    • 2020 rolled over annual leave must be taken by December 2022

    • 2021 rolled over annual Leave must be taken by December 2023

It is against the law for employers to sell statutory leave, except when some employees leave their job (known as "payment in lieu").

This is a complex area and the Members’ HR team in the House would be happy to answer any questions MPs or their HR proxies may have membershr@parliament.uk .

Key considerations

  • There is no additional funding for selling annual leave, employers need to ensure that budget is available.

  • There is a maximum limit of five days (FTE) that can be sold on each occasion.

  • Employers need to ensure that they are not breaking the law by arranging for their employees to sell statutory annual leave .

  • There will be two opportunities – the first deadline is 15 March 2022 and the second will be in February 2023.

The Covid staffing uplift in the 2021/22 budget can be used for the window to sell annual leave this March.

  • The maximum of five days leave per year (pro-rata) will also apply to employees on paid maternity, adoption and shared parental leave. Agreement as to any days to be sold will need the MP’s agreement.

  • The value of the leave will be based on the current rate of pay.

  • Once sold, the annual leave cannot be reinstated.

The process

  • The MP needs to agree any requests from their staff to sell annual leave.

  • Once MP agreement has been given, email payroll@theipsa.org.uk (from the MP or their IPSA proxy) including the following information:

    • Name of employee

    • Staff number/resource ID

    • Number of days to be paid (maximum five days FTE (pro-rata))

    • Employer confirmation of budget availability

    • Deadline – 15 March 2022 (for calendar leave year 2020)

  • Any annual leave sold is subject to tax and National Insurance and does not qualify for pension purposes.

Calculating Annual Leave Pay

IPSA will convert the number of days provided above into hours for payment.

(Number of days x 7.5 hours = hours due)

Full-time annual salary / 52 weeks / Full-time weekly hours = hourly rate for holiday pay

Or

Part-time annual salary / 52 weeks / Part-time weekly hours = hourly rate for holiday pay Add 13.8% for employer National Insurance to calculate MP cost against budget

IPSA is committed to ensuring its rules help to support MPs in maintaining a family life and support MPs who require time away from work for other reasons.

This includes supporting MPs before, during and after the birth or adoption of a child and those who may be absent due to sickness or the need for medical treatment. We are also committed to supporting those with caring responsibilities.

As independent office-holders, MPs are not employees and therefore they are not eligible for any statutory parental leave. The terms “leave” or “absence” mean something different for MPs because they remain the elected constituency representative and there are no formal procedures or requirements in place in Parliament or within the political parties for them to take leave.

In practice, MPs occasionally need to take time away from Parliament following the arrival of a baby, for example, or if they are seriously unwell or need to undergo medical treatment. However, due to the unique constitutional nature of their position, some aspects of an MP’s role cannot be carried out by anyone else while they are absent, for example, taking part in debates or parliamentary committees.

For these reasons, IPSA has developed alternative funding arrangements to support MPs to take absence from work for an extended period, and so that their constituents and their office continue to be supported during any period of absence.

This guidance explains these arrangements and how MPs can access the funding to support any extended absence from their role. Any MP who requires further information should contact IPSA on 020 7811 6400 or info@theipsa.org.uk, so that we can discuss and agree options to support any period of absence.

Support available to cover MP absence

All the usual funding arrangements to support MPs remain unchanged if they are absent from work:

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

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

In addition, IPSA offers the following extra support for any period of absence:

  • MPs are eligible for funding for additional staffing resources to cover their absence (from the MP Parental Leave and Absence budget)

  • MPs are eligible for funding for travel for any additional staff members (from the Travel budget)

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

  • MPs offices can be offered an additional payment card, to provide flexibility while the MP is absent

Funding available to cover MP absence

Since 2021-22 IPSA has provided funding from the MP Parental Leave & Absence budget to allow MPs to recruit additional capacity into their office if they expect to be absent from work for an extended period, normally expected to be more than three months. The additional funding provided is based on the principle that the MP is absent and the additional funding is required to increase office staffing capacity for the period the MP is absent.

Where the absence spans financial years, any funds remaining will be carried forward into the following year, alongside any additional provision needed for annual salary increases.

IPSA has developed a job description for an “MP Representative” (see below) who may be recruited to cover the period when the MP is absent and to perform the aspects of the MP’s role that are able to be performed by someone else. IPSA will provide additional funding from the MP Parental Leave & Absence budget to cover the cost of employing the MP Representative for the period of absence, plus up to one-month handover at the beginning and/or end of the absence, as determined by the MP. Therefore, the amount of funding available depends on the length of the expected absence as illustrated below.

MP parental leave table 1

*The funding available is a pro-rated calculation based on the cost (salary plus on costs) of employing an MP Representative for the period of absence budget.

However, MPs are under no obligation to use the funding in this way and can use the equivalent funding from the MP Absence Budget as they see fit providing it is within the ordinary rules of the Scheme as they relate to staffing (see below). The following options are available, and can be combined providing the total cost falls within the total funding available:

  • recruit a full-time MP Representative to cover the period of absence

  • temporarily promote an existing staff member to take on additional duties during the period of absence (such as the management of other staff)

  • recruit additional staff on fixed-term contracts to increase capacity for the period of absence (e.g., caseworkers)

  • temporarily increase the contracted hours of existing part-time staff, or pay overtime

  • fund learning and development for staff taking on additional responsibility during the MP’s absence

The funding does not need to be used for cover for one continuous period. An MP could, for example, seek funding to cover absence for three months, and then an additional three months at a later stage. For example, this approach may be more suitable if an MP is undergoing medical treatment.

While MPs may choose how to arrange cover during a period of absence, the use of IPSA funding for this purpose is subject to the ordinary rules of Scheme as they relate to staffing costs: MPs’ staff must be employed on a standard IPSA contract and job description and be paid a salary within the relevant range for their job role.

Funding for cover during parental 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 & Absence budget and is normally expected to be taken before the end of the first year following the birth or adoption.

MPs who request funding for cover during a period of parental leave are required to provide IPSA with a Maternity Certificate (Form MAT B1) or a Matching Certificate from an adoption agency. In cases of surrogacy, a Surrogacy Declaration is required or if legal parenthood has already been established then IPSA will require a Parental Order. Where an MP plans to take shared parental leave, they should contact IPSA to discuss the next steps.

The normal funding available is intended to cover a maximum period of seven months (plus one-month handover) for the biological parent or primary adopter. Longer periods and/or alternative arrangements may be agreed on a case-by-case basis.

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. Similarly, there is no obligation on the MP to use the proxy voting arrangements at the same time as the absence funding, although this may be the preferred option for many MPs.

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.

Funding for cover for sickness, medical treatment, or other absence

MPs who need to take time off due to sickness, medical treatment or for other reasons can also apply for funding for cover from the MP Parental Leave & Absence budget. Where an MP is unavailable to request the funding themselves, IPSA will support the nominated caretaker MP to make decisions about the arrangements needed to support the office.

A Member shall demonstrate eligibility for the absence funding by providing IPSA with documentation from a medical professional to support the absence.

The normal funding available is intended to cover the period of absence (plus up to one-month handover). Longer periods and/or alternative arrangements may be agreed on a case-by-case basis.

Accessing the MP Parental Leave & Absence budget

  • Contact us: We encourage any MP who expects to be absent from work to contact their IPSA account manager at the earliest opportunity so that we can work with them to put in place the funding and arrangements needed to support their office while they are absent.

  • Decide how you want to keep in touch with IPSA while you are absent from work. This might be through a member of the MP’s team or directly. We will discuss with you how and how frequently you want to keep in touch, bearing in mind how we will support the MP and the MP’s team during year-end and annual publication.

  • Decide and inform us in writing if you want to delegate any decision-making to a proxy while you are absent. This might relate to business costs and/or staffing. Most MPs decide to keep responsibility for staffing decisions, but to delegate decisions about business costs.

  • Consider requesting another payment card for your office. We can allocate a new payment card to your office manager so they can better manage expenses when the MP is absent.

Returning to work

IPSA requires an MP to inform us that they have returned to work, so that any additional support may be provided.

MPs who have taken parental leave will also be entitled to the following support for MPs with children who are dependants:

  • uplift to the accommodation budget 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 the usual caps as set out in the Scheme

  • 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 Dependants.

Other MPs who have been absent due to illness may need additional support from the Disability Assistance budget if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on their ability to do normal daily activities.

MP Representative job description

IPSA has developed a job description for an “MP Representative” who may be recruited to cover the period when the MP is absent. The job description has been designed to include the aspects of an MP’s role that are able to be performed by someone else and is intended to support MPs to recruit or temporarily promote someone to lead their office and represent them in their absence.

Visit the job description generator to access the MP Representative profile.

This person may, for example, be responsible for leading a team of staff, responding to large volumes of queries, organising community events, meeting Ministers if they agree to do so, and working with many stakeholders. This could include non-party political campaigns for change outside of the parliamentary chamber and serving the community, acting on behalf of the absent MP within the constraints of the constitution. Although the MP Representative will not enter parliamentary chambers or engage in debates, ask questions in the House of Commons or vote, they could submit written questions on the MP’s behalf.

Future consultation about support for parental leave and other MP absence

IPSA will soon be engaging with MPs and others in a series of stakeholder sessions chaired by the IPSA Board member who is a former MP. These discussions will consider how we can further embed and improve the support we provide to MPs who are absent from their role, with a view to submitting a report and Scheme recommendations to the IPSA Board in time for the 2023/24 financial year, as well as inform any potential process or guidance changes which would be desirable and possible in the meantime.

Implications for publication and FOI

The MP Parental Leave and Absence budget is a central and uncapped fund, and costs incurred against this budget are not published against individual MPs. Instead, they are included in the single aggregate figure that IPSA publishes for MP parental leave and absence costs each year. Costs claimed from other budgets are published in the normal manner.

IPSA also receives requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act. As required by the legislation IPSA considers FOI requests on a case-by-case basis and whether there are exemptions that apply that mean information should not be disclosed. For example, we take privacy very seriously and consider the Section 40(2) Personal Information exemption which provides an exemption from disclosing information if complying with the request would breach any of the principles in the UK GDPR.

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.

Use IPSA Online to enter your leave request alongside your MATB1 Form. For help, visit Submitting maternity leave requests.

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 a 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.

Use IPSA Online to enter your leave request. For help, visit Submitting paternity leave requests.

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.

Use IPSA Online to enter your leave request. For help, visit Submitting adoption leave requests.

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 of leave are compulsory for women on maternity leave.

Use IPSA Online to enter your SPL request. For help visit Submitting shared parental leave requests.

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 end of the family leave.

At the MP’s discretion, some of it may be carried into the following 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 guide, please contact Members HR on 020 7219 2080 or email membershr@parliament.uk

This addendum contains policies and procedures which do not form part of your contract of employment and which may be amended from time to time.

This addendum applies to all staff on IPSA contracts. Staff on non-IPSA contracts where benefits for maternity and other family leave are specified, the non-IPSA benefits contained in those contracts will apply.

Where non-IPSA contracts do not specifically mention these items, this addendum will be followed.

Read the full Family leave addendum.

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 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. An annual leave request should be submitted using the reason “Reservist duties paid”.

Read more about Booking annual leave.

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

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