The amount of time spent on union work by civil servants who are union representatives will be subject to new limits and monitoring, with immediate effect.
Under the new arrangements announced by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, civil service union representatives will be required to spend at least 50% of their time carrying out their civil service job, rather than union work, unless a larger proportion of union work has been signed off by their Secretary of State or Chief Executive (for a maximum of three years).
Departments will be expected to monitor time spent on union duties and activities, reporting to the Cabinet Office on a quarterly basis and publishing details on an annual basis.
A guide figure as to how much money should be spent on union facilities (ie the duties and activities of union representatives and members, including health and safety and union learning representatives) will be introduced. This will be 0.1% of each department's paybill in the first year.
The new arrangements follow a consultation on reform to trade union facility time in the civil service, which closed on 7 September 2012.
Consequences of recognition The XpertHR employment law manual sets out the law on time off for union representatives.
The XpertHR FAQs section answers employers' questions on time off for union duties and activities, including:
Working with trade unions: time off and facilities The 2010 IRS survey on working with trade unions looks at the time-off arrangements and facilities for trade unions and trade unionists in the workplace.