As the Government announce that employers can use the furlough scheme for employees who have caring responsibilities (including those unable to work, or working reduced hours, due to home-schooling or childcare facilites being closed), support is also available to MPs and their staff who find themselves in similar positions.
Although MPs cannot utilise the formal furlough scheme, IPSA has made provision available to help with staffing arrangements during this time. They have provided the following guidance:
“If staff members are not unwell but are unable to work for other reasons (such as caring for dependants), the MP as employer can decide to grant other leave to cover the period, such as caring leave or annual leave. Please refer to IPSA’s guidance on staff leave. In these exceptional circumstances, MPs can also grant special leave at their discretion, which could be paid or unpaid. Where special leave is granted, it should be reviewed regularly by the MP and staff member.
If staff are absent for more than two weeks, their salaries will be paid from the staff absence budget, in order to allow the normal staffing budget to be used to pay for staff cover. If a medical note is available, please submit this to the payroll team as normal, and we will move the staff member’s salary costs into the staff absence budget. If a medical note is not available, or if staff are unable to work for other reasons (such as caring for dependants), we will accept an email from the MP confirming the period of absence in order to move costs into the staff absence budget.
The following web page offers some further guidance on changes that have occurred due to the coronavirus pandemic: https://www.theipsa.org.uk/news/coronavirus-guidance/coronavirus-faqs/.
If you need to find staffing cover during this time, please do contact HIVE Support for assistance. Our recruitment service can help you find short or long term support, full time & part time, and we usually have a selection of staff available with previous Parliamentary experience who are able to start immediately.