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.

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 2023-24 budgets. [10.9]

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. [10.10]

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. [10.11]

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. [10.12]

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. [7.25]

Using IPSA Online



The ability to sell annual leave has now ended.

The original offer was made in relation to annual leave in 2020 and 2021.

Any annual leave from 2022 must be taken with no option to be paid for it unless leaving and in agreement with the employer.

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 (including surrogacy) 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 for others.

As independent officeholders, MPs are not employees and therefore 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 requirements in place in Parliament for them to take leave.

In practice, MPs occasionally need to take time away from Parliament following, for example, the arrival of a baby or if they are seriously unwell. 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, flexible funding arrangements to support MPs to take an absence from work for an extended period, and so that their constituents and their office continue to be supported during that period. Several MPs have accessed this support for different reasons and in different ways.

This guidance explains how MPs can access tailored funding to support any extended absence from their role.

Any MP who requires further information or wishes to discuss their circumstances should contact IPSA at 020 7811 6400 or info@theipsa.org.uk so we can discuss options to support any period of absence.

Support available to cover an MP's absence

Funding arrangements to support MPs remain unchanged if they are absent:

  • 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

Funding available to cover an MP's 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 of normally more than three months up and to seven months.

MPs are encouraged to contact IPSA to discuss any funding for material absence which may fall below three months, as well as cases which may span longer than seven months and where IPSA has the discretion to extend the funding if necessary.

It should be noted that where an MP is absent from Westminster for a more limited period due to an important life event, IPSA offers enhanced account management and customer service support to the office when it is made aware. MPs who face ongoing conditions and may require reasonable adjustments whilst present in Westminster should contact IPSA to discuss our disability assistance funding support.

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

All claims from this budget will be published in aggregate across all MPs and not against an individual.

Details of funding

Funding yearPeriod of absencePeriod of handoverPeriod of absence budgetMP parental leave & absence budget available*
2024-25One monthOne month£6,884
Four monthsOne monthFour months£34,423
Seven monthsOne monthSeven months£55,078
Nine monthsOne monthNine months£68,847

*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.

This support, however, is not one size fits all and MPs are under no obligation to use the funding as in the table above so long as they remain within its budget envelope.

As they may not be able to conduct end-to-end recruitment, induction, and security processes in time, MPs can, therefore, use the equivalent funding as they see fit providing it is within the ordinary rules of the Scheme on staffing.

For more information, visit Staffing costs.

This means the following options are available (and can be combined) providing the total cost falls within the total funding available, and that staff are employed on a standard IPSA contract, job description, and salary within the relevant range for their job role:

  • 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 (for example, 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 undergoing medical treatment could, for example, seek funding to cover absence for three months, and then an additional three months at a later stage.

This may also be relevant for adoption processes.

IPSA offers the following extra support for any eligible period of extended absence in addition to or instead of the staff cover funding above:

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

  • a single point of contact at IPSA to assist them during the period of leave, including at senior level where preferable

  • an additional payment card and amended proxy permissions to provide flexibility while the MP is absent

Funding for cover during parental leave

MPs taking time off after the birth or adoption (including surrogacy) of a child are eligible for funding to provide cover for their office during their absence via this budget.

This is normally expected to be taken before the end of the first year following the birth or adoption, although we encourage those undergoing adoption or surrogacy-related processes to contact us if they need to be absent before the arrival of the child.

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.

The budget applies to same-sex couples in the same way.

Where an MP plans to take shared parental leave, they should contact IPSA to discuss what may be feasible and desirable. Biological fathers, partners, and second adopters undertaking the principal at-home carer role are eligible for funding under equal terms and should contact IPSA to agree on the next steps.

Where the MP is the principal at home-carer and has de facto parental responsibility for a stepchild, the budget can also apply.

Where kinship arrangements are in place, such as where a grandparent assumes the sudden care responsibility for a grandchild, the MP should contact IPSA to discuss support which can be offered, particularly if this is long-term.

Where an MP or their partner experiences complications in childbirth, baby loss, or child bereavement, IPSA will offer enhanced account management support to them and their office through this intensely difficult period. Where this leads to a material medical or caring responsibility absence, the funding can apply, and IPSA can arrange a single point of contact, including at senior level, to discuss in confidence.

As mentioned, in all cases where an MP experiences a significant life event, IPSA stands ready to offer enhanced account management and customer service support outside of this budget so that no individual falls through the gap during a shorter-term absence when additional staff cover may not be required or practicable.

The time periods align with the current arrangements for proxy voting in the House of Commons and its future pilot for serious illness. There is no obligation for the MP to use the proxy voting arrangements at the same time as the absence funding, but MPs can apply to the Speaker of the House of Commons to vote by proxy.

For more information, the Clerk of Divisions can be contacted by email at pbohoc@parliament.uk or by calling extension 3261.

MPs may also wish to discuss matters with Members’ HR at membershr@parliament.uk or the Parliamentary Health and Wellbeing Service (PHWS) and its materials for MPs and staff at PHWS@parliament.uk.

Download the PHWS booklet on Services for Members of both Houses.

Download the PHWS booklet on Services for Members' and Peers' staff.

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.

We understand this may not be immediately possible or appropriate. In these circumstances, please speak to us.

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.

Where an MP is required to undertake a caring responsibility for a dependant or another – such as a parent or partner – for an extended period, we encourage MPs to contact IPSA to discuss the next steps and potential support arrangements.

IPSA can also liaise with Whips in Parliament and Members’ HR on the appropriate provision.

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. A senior single point of contact can be arranged.

  • 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 manager.

Returning to work

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

Given their importance, funding from this budget will not be impacted if the MP returns occasionally to Westminster for equivalents of "keeping-in-touch days".

Where, however, their presence in Parliament is so regular they could reasonably be deemed to have returned to work, the arrangements will be revised and/or withdrawn.

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 created a new job description for an “MP Representative” who may be recruited or promoted to cover the period when the MP is absent.

This person may, for example, be responsible for leading a team of staff, organising community events, meeting Ministers if they agree to do so, and working with many stakeholders to act 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.

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

Consultation about support for parental leave and other MP absence

IPSA conducted an extensive further consultation across 2022 and received positive feedback on the support available from parliamentary stakeholders, other legislatures, and external subject matter experts.

This exercise was led by Helen Jones, an IPSA Board member and former MP.

Download MP parental leave & extended absence: Qualitative research and engagement – April – November 2022.

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 aggregated and not published against individual MPs.

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 the 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 of public/bank holidays as part of the calculation. This is to ensure 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 × 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 day-to-day or week-to-week, the calculation below provides the leave allowance in hours rather than days.

For example:

If someone works 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.

Prorate 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 × 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 × 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.

Carrying over leave

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

Managing annual leave

It is the responsibility of staff and their managers to maintain 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 (inclusive of bank holidays).

Instead of requesting their holiday pay, or being paid the entire amount when they leave, each month their holiday pay will be included in their monthly pay. It will appear as a separate line on their payslip.

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

If you have any queries, please contact a member of the 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 × 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 × 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 × numbers of days due or overtaken

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

If there are any further questions not covered within this guidance, please contact Members HR at 020 7219 2080 or by email at 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 fifteenth 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 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 member's 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 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 wishes 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 if 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 member's 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 member's 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 10 "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.

KIT days must be paid at the time you do the work and cannot be delayed or added on to extend your maternity leave. They can be taken at any point during the 52 weeks you are on Maternity leave. If, however, you are still in receipt of full pay, you will not receive any further payment.

The calculation 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.

Time off may be paid or unpaid which is also dependent on the MP’s business needs as to the time off requested.

The amount of time off will depend on the nature of the duties.

Jury service

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

Volunteer Magistrates

The amount of time off for a voluntary Magistrate will depend on the nature of the duties but is usually expected to be 13 days/26 half-day sittings per year.

Where possible employees who volunteer as a Magistrate should claim the allowances available to them for loss of earnings, travel and subsistence.

For more information about the available allowances, please visit the Magistrates Association website.

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 at 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 regular 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.

Compassionate or Bereavement Leave

It is at the MP's discretion as to what period of leave to approve. The cost of this will come from the staffing budget, irrelevant to the period taken.

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 at 020 7219 2080 or at membershr@parliament.uk

Contact IPSA

To get additional support, contact us.