Which duties are union representatives allowed paid time off to carry out?

Union representatives are entitled to paid time off to carry out the duties set out in s.168 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULR(C)A). These include negotiations with the employer on matters listed in s.178(2) of TULR(C)A for which the union is recognised for collective bargaining purposes. These are:

  • terms and conditions of employment;
  • engagement, non-engagement, suspension or termination of employment;
  • allocation of work or duties;
  • disciplinary matters;
  • trade union membership or non-membership;
  • facilities for trade union officials; and
  • procedures and the framework for negotiations or consultation on the matters above.

Representatives are also entitled to time off for functions (other than negotiations) related to these matters.

Section 168 of TULR(C)A also provides that a union representative is entitled to paid time off for duties relating to: information and consultation about collective redundancies or a TUPE transfer; and negotiation and other functions relating to the variation of employees' contracts during a TUPE transfer where the transferor is subject to insolvency proceedings.

In addition, representatives are entitled to paid time off under s.10(6) of the Employment Relations Act 1999 to accompany employees (who are employed by the same employer as the representative) to disciplinary and grievance meetings.

Union health and safety representatives and union learning representatives are also entitled to paid time off to perform their duties.

Only union representatives who represent a union recognised by the employer are entitled to paid time off to carry out the above duties.