If a union representative carries out trade union duties outside working hours, is he or she entitled to paid time off in lieu?

Sections 168 and 169 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 entitle union representatives to payment for time off for carrying out union duties during their working hours. Therefore, there is no statutory right to payment for union duties conducted outside working hours and there is no right to paid time off in lieu of time spent undertaking union duties.

However, the Acas code of practice on time off for trade union duties and activities states that representatives who work flexible hours, for example night-shift workers, should be paid for time off where it is necessary for them to perform union duties during normal working hours (ie outside their own working hours).

The code also provides that part-time workers will be entitled to be paid for carrying out union duties if full-time employees would be entitled to be paid. Therefore, an employer should pay a part-time worker who is a union representative for time spent carrying out union duties outside his or her normal part-time hours, if the duties are carried out in the normal working hours of full-time workers.