When do I get paid?
You’ll be paid monthly in arrears on or around the last working day of each month. Payment is made directly into your bank or building society account. You can access your payslip online through E-HR. The Human Resources Office (HR) of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) will set this up for you when you start and you’ll receive a username and password.
If you started working for me on or after 1 July 2016, the following applies to you (if you started before 1 July, any contributions will be backdated).
To help people save more for their retirement, all employers are now required by law to provide a qualifying workplace pension scheme and pay employer contributions should you qualify under the Automatic Enrolment criteria. The qualifying pension scheme for MSP staff is the Friends Provident New Generation Group Personal Pensions Scheme (F66230) provided by Friends Life.
Your pension entitlement is set out in your contract. What follows here is a guide.
You’ll be automatically enrolled into the qualifying pension scheme if you meet all of the following criteria:
You earn over £833 per month
You are aged 22 or over and
You are under state pension age
In terms of pension contributions, your employing member will pay 10% of your gross basic salary into your pension fund. You may also contribute into your pension fund. This may be a percentage contribution or a fixed monetary value. If you wish to start, increase, decrease your contributions or opt out, please email the details to the Human Resources Office at HumanResources@parliament.scot
As your contributions will be deducted from your pay after any income tax has been taken, tax relief will then be added to your contributions once they've been received by Friends Life. This is known as ‘tax relief’ or ‘relief at source’. Friends Life will also add tax relief to your employer’s 10% contribution.
If you don’t qualify automatically under the above criteria you can still choose to join the scheme. If you wish to become a member of the MSP Staff pension scheme please email the Human Resources Office at HumanResources@parliament.scot
If you don’t want to save into the scheme, you can opt out. To opt out you must complete the opt-out form within your welcome pack from Friends Life. You’ll receive your welcome pack by the end of the month following your enrollment to the scheme. If you opt out within 30 days of receiving your welcome pack any contributions made during this time will be returned. If you decide to opt out, you will be treated for all purposes as not having become an active member of the scheme on this occasion. If you opt out, you’ll be allowed to opt back into the pension scheme at least once every 12 months. You’ll be re-enrolled every 3 years if you are assessed as being eligible at that time.
Further information on the MSP Staff Pension Scheme can be found at www.friendslife.co.uk/
Further information about automatic enrolment and workplace pensions can be found at https://www.gov.uk/workplace-pensions
If you started before 1 July 2016, and have a previous pension plan and would be interested in finding out more about whether it would be possible to transfer this into the Group Personal Pension Scheme please contact HR.
Can I claim back travel expenses?
Yes. You can claim back travelling expenses on journeys that are:
Between your normal place of work as defined in your contract and the Parliament; or within the constituency/region undertaken in support of my undertaking Parliamentary duties; or a combination of the above.
A journey is all qualifying travel completed within one day. Please note that you can’t claim for daily commuting journeys by you to and from your normal place of work. Full details of the travel cost arrangements for MSPs’ staff can be found in the Members Expenses Scheme.
What are my hours of work?
Your hours of work are stated in your contract.
How many days holiday will I have?
I offer great holidays which exceed the statutory minimum and you can find details of these in your contract. The annual leave year runs from 1 September to 31 August and usually, all holidays are taken during Parliamentary recess periods and/or during the dissolution period. However, speak to me if you would like to take time off at another time and I’ll see what I can do.
Please give me as much notice as possible of any holidays you would like to take, so I can plan work accordingly and I’ll respond to your holiday request as soon as I can.
All Members’ staff are entitled to a minimum of 25 days’ paid annual leave per annum, pro rata, based on a 5-day working week, in addition to 10.5 days public and privilege holidays. If you receive more than 25 days annual leave please contact HR who will calculate your leave for you.
During your first and last years of employment, your entitlement will be calculated on a pro-rata basis according to the completed days worked. Please see the table for an idea of the amount of holiday you will accrue each month.
If you work part-time, you’ll accrue leave on a pro rata basis to the number of hours or days you are contracted to work, and you’re only entitled to the full number of 10.5 public and privilege holidays if you work over the period in which these holidays fall.
You can’t carry over holidays from one year to the next without agreeing on it with me first. If I agree to you carrying over holidays, and if you’re receiving the 25 days entitlement, the maximum number of days you can carry over is 7.5. This will be calculated pro rata for part time workers.
If you leave my employment, just note that I reserve the right to require that any outstanding holidays be taken during your notice period.
Quick Guide to Holiday
How many days' holiday am I entitled to?
Absence management - What do I need to know?
I care about your health and wellbeing and I’ll support you to get back to work as soon as you are able to. I manage absence cases individually to take account of all relevant factors, in a supportive, effective and consistent manner.
If you’re ill please be aware what I need from you. You should let me know by 10am on the first day of absence, why you’re absent and when you think you’ll be back at work.
Absences of 7 calendar days or less don’t require a ‘fit note’ from the GP but absences of 8 calendar days or more do require a GP ‘fit note’. I’ll forward them on to the HR Office to keep on a confidential basis.
For any period of absence lasting up to 7 calendar days, you must fill out a Self-Certification form on return to work.
What happens if I’m off sick for a longer period of time?
If you’re unsure how long you’ll be absent for we’ll agree how often to stay in touch and you should submit the relevant certificates as soon as possible. If you have a period of long-term sickness absence, I’ll keep in touch with you to support, in any way I can, your return to work. I’ll also keep you up to date with any developments at work.
However, if your situation doesn’t improve, your employment may be brought to an end on grounds of incapacity:
in the event that my Occupational Health Adviser recommends that you are incapable of returning to work in the foreseeable future; or
where you have an underlying medical condition and the medical advice is that you are unfit to do your job and alternatives to dismissal have been fully explored and cannot be put in place; or
where reasonable adjustments have been put in place and these have not improved your level of attendance.
You’ll be invited to attend a meeting to discuss the situation, including the advice of Occupational Health, if it has been obtained, and its implications. At the meeting, you’ll have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague. In advance of the meeting, you’ll also be advised of the likelihood of your employment being brought to an end, in line with the Disciplinary Procedure.
When might Occupational Health be involved?
At times, I may need advice from my Occupational Health Adviser to obtain impartial, independent and objective medical advice to help me support you to get back to work. You’ll get to see any report provided by my Occupational Health Adviser and the Adviser may wish to seek information from your GP or other medical adviser (and will do so only with your informed consent in accordance with the Access to Medical Reports Act 1988).
Is counselling available?
Remember that there is a Counselling and Information Service which is a confidential telephone support and information service you can access at any time. You can also arrange free confidential face-to-face counselling to help you deal with work related and personal difficulties that you may be experiencing. The service is available 24/7 on 0800 587 5670 or at www.sg.helpeap.com.
What about disability?
As your employer, I’m committed to improving the health, wellbeing and attendance of my staff and will support you if you experience ill health or disability when working for me.
Under the Equality Act 2010 I have a legal duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled employees in certain circumstances and I’ll consider all adjustments I can reasonably make in order to support you in your role.
What happens if I fall sick before and/or during my holiday?
If you fall sick whilst on holiday or on a day adjacent to your holiday, just follow the normal reporting and certification arrangements. Annual leave may be reclaimed for the days that you are sick. Just provide me with your GP fit note to cover these days.
You’ll still accrue holidays if you’re off sick (where you are in receipt of full/half pay). Additionally (in accordance with current statutory requirements) you’ll still accrue holidays during any period of unpaid sick leave up to the current level of statutory entitlement.
Returning to Work
If you have been away from work because of sickness absence, I’ll arrange to have a Return to Work Discussion with you when you return to work. We can do this over the phone if we can’t meet face-to-face. In most cases this discussion will be short and informal.
If you feel able to return to work before the expiry of your medical certificate, you’ll need to supply evidence from your GP that this is ok. If I’m in any doubt, I’ll seek advice from my Occupational Health Adviser.
Will I be paid if I’m off sick?
Provided that there is a reasonable prospect of you eventually recovering and returning to work, you may be entitled to a maximum of:
6 months’ sick leave on full pay during any 12 month rolling period; and
6 months’ sick leave on half pay during any 12 months rolling period.
Depending on the level of sick absence incurred over the previous 12 month rolling period, half-pay or no-pay rate may commence at any time during a particular period of sickness absence.
Your entitlement to full pay or half pay is inclusive of any entitlement that you may have to Statutory Sick Pay (“SSP”). Once these limits have been exhausted, I’ll be responsible for paying you SSP only (in accordance with the SSP regulations).
Make sure you know what to do, as I reserve the right to withhold contractual sick pay in circumstances where you don’t co-operate with reasonable requests or breach the requirements within this policy.
To help you understand what you need to supply and when you should supply it, know that each normal workday you are sick counts as a day’s sick absence. Weekends, public and privilege holidays and rest days also count, for pay purposes, if your absence begins before them and continues after them. So for example, in the case of a weekend for Monday to Friday workers, if you are absent on both Friday and Monday you will be recorded for pay purposes as being absent for four days, not two. On the other hand, if you are absent on a Friday but return to work on the following Monday, you will be recorded as being absent for pay purposes on only one day.
So, am I entitled to Statutory Sick Pay?
If your entitlement to Contractual Sick Pay has been exhausted, you may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), in accordance with the SSP regulations. More information on qualifying for SSP is available on Gov.uk.
Other reasons for time off
What if I have a dentist/doctor’s appointment during work time?
If you can, please try to arrange appointments outside your working hours. However, if this isn’t possible, speak to me to arrange to work the time spent on the appointment at a future date. Alternatively, this can be taken as unpaid time off.
What about time off for dependents?
There might be times when you need time off at short notice to deal with an emergency involving a dependent. For me, reasonable time off means 2 to 3 days, however, depending on individual circumstances I may agree a longer period if needed.
Check out the statutory provisions to see when this unpaid time off would apply. In addition, I may grant paid time off if a serious incident occurs in your immediate family.
Am I entitled to take time off for public duties?
There is a statutory right to time off for performing particular public duties, and these are detailed on Gov.uk.
If you are thinking of taking on a public duty you should consider whether any possible conflict of interest could arise with your work for me. You should think through the time off that will be required to do your duties effectively and the implications for your paid employment with me. I’ll try to give you a reasonable amount of time off if I can and this time off work will be unpaid.
See the link above for the factors which I will take into account in considering this type of request.
Parental Bereavement Leave
I understand that losing a child is an unimaginable trauma. This can be an extremely difficult time for any parent who will be grieving the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or young child. Parents will be given two-weeks paid leave if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. This can be taken as a single block or as 2 separate weeks within 56 weeks of the bereavement.
This will help, alongside other support to remove any pressure from parents to come back to work too quickly and provide the time to grieve following the death of a baby or their young child. It is important for my staff to feel they’re being treated with dignity and compassion when such a tragedy occurs.
In operating this policy, I'll follow this guidance.
I recognise that having a baby or adopting a child is a special and important time and that particular needs may arise which may impact on your working life, and I’ll do what I can to help you.
contractual entitlement: as you’ll see in your contract, I provide more than the statutory entitlement to paid leave for family reasons. This enhanced contractual pay is inclusive of your statutory entitlement. Read on for more details.
statutory entitlement: I’ve noted where to look for this. Just note that this is simply a summary and is not intended to change your statutory rights. Regardless of the terms of this policy, I’ll comply with your statutory rights as they may be amended from time to time.
I can help with Childcare expenses as the SPCB has given Members’ staff access to a Childcare Voucher Scheme. If you have kids and you wish to access this scheme, or want to find out more, contact HR.
If you do get Childcare Vouchers then you have responsibility for letting HR know about any changes to your circumstances such as changing your hours or when your child is going to move from nursery to school so that they can review your entitlement and make sure you’re receiving the correct amount.
Parent mentor scheme
It’s good to know too that the Parliament operates a Parent Mentor Scheme which aims to guide and support staff in circumstances which include pregnancy, maternity, paternity, adoption and returning to work.
Keeping in Touch during family leave
If possible, I’d like you to keep in touch during your maternity, adoption, paternity or shared parental leave period and Keeping in Touch (KIT) days enable us to do this. The purpose of KIT days is for you to be involved in:
Learning and capability development activities;
meetings designed to update you about changes to the business; and
other activities designed to keep you up to date.
This is purely voluntary and you don’t need to use all 10 days. You’ll be paid at your normal rate for attending on a KIT day. Any activity in a day will count as a whole day towards the number of KIT days and these days don’t need to be worked consecutively.
On a voluntary basis you may (with my agreement) work up to a maximum of 20 Shared-Parental-Leave-in-Touch (SPLIT) days during your Shared Parental Leave. This is in addition to any KIT days you may have taken during Maternity or Adoption Leave.
Need to know:
By law, you should not participate in any KIT days during the two-week period following the day your baby was born.
All pregnant employees are entitled to 52 weeks statutory maternity leave, regardless of their length of service with their employer.
If you have been continuously employed by me for one year when your maternity leave starts, and you stay in my employment throughout your maternity leave, your pay will be as follows:
26 weeks on full pay, then
13 weeks on Statutory Maternity Pay, then
13 weeks unpaid
Remember that you'll continue to receive all your other contractual benefits whilst on a period of paid maternity leave, for example, pension benefits, continuity of employment, pay progression, holidays, etc. It's the same for unpaid maternity leave, except that it doesn't qualify for pension benefits. You should use up your holidays before returning to work.
You'll find full details of your rights and responsibilities on Gov.uk.
This lets you know what you need to do and when you need to tell me. Be aware that there are specific deadlines you have to meet if you want to claim maternity leave and pay.
If you're not entitled to SMP, you may still be entitled to some support in the form of Maternity Allowance and/or Employment Support Allowance. Further information about this can be found at Gov.uk or from Jobcentre Plus.
What about my health and safety during pregnancy/ maternity?
I'll carry out a risk assessment to ensure that you're not exposed to a pregnancy related health and safety risk whilst at work. If a risk is identified, I'll try to alter your working conditions to avoid the risk or, if that does not avoid the risk, I'll try to identify suitable alternative work for you. If none is available, you may be suspended, at your existing rate of pay, on maternity grounds.
What should I do if I wish to breastfeed on my return to work?
No problem. You should let me know 4 weeks in advance and I'll arrange a breastfeeding risk assessment to ensure that neither you nor your child are exposed to risks that could impact on your health and safety. I'll discuss and agree with you any necessary adjustments to your working day to allow you to breastfeed.
A private and comfortable room at the Parliament (TG.43) has been equipped so you can feed your baby or express your milk. The room has a fridge where breast milk may be stored securely. You can also store any expressing equipment here.
Adoption Leave Arrangements
You are eligible for adoption leave if you have been working continuously for me for 26 weeks and you have been matched with a child (up to 18 years old)
If you’re eligible, you’re entitled to 52 weeks adoption leave. The other parent may be entitled to 2 weeks’ paid paternity leave (regardless of their gender) or be eligible to opt in to a system of Shared Parental Leave.
Adoption Leave applies only to new parents of the child including foster carers who adopt a child that they’ve already been caring for. You’ll not qualify for Adoption Leave or pay if you arrange a private adoption, become a special guardian, adopt a stepchild or have a child through surrogacy.
Contractual Adoption Pay
You’ll qualify for contractual adoption pay at the following rates providing you have worked for me continuously for a minimum of one year at the time your Adoption Leave starts and you stay in my employment during your Adoption Leave period:
26 weeks on full pay;
13 weeks on Statutory Adoption Pay; and
13 weeks will be unpaid.
You’ll find full details on Gov.uk. This lets you know what you need to do and when you need to tell me. Be aware that there are specific deadlines you have to meet if you want to claim adoption leave and pay.
Statutory Adoption Pay
If you don’t qualify for contractual adoption pay, you may be eligible for Statutory Adoption Pay if you meet the requirements on Gov.uk.
Am I entitled to time off to support preparations for adoption?
Yes. You can have reasonable time off with pay to attend high level contact visits, arranged on the advice of an approved UK adoption agency. These visits are designed to prepare you and/or the child for placement. These may include:
Attendance at training/briefing sessions;
Appointments with your link worker; and
Introductory visits to allow you to meet the child and begin to establish a relationship with him or her. You should try, where you can, to arrange your appointments at a time which won’t disrupt normal business.
Remember that you’ll continue to receive all your other contractual benefits whilst on a period of paid adoption leave, for example, pension benefits, continuity of employment, pay progression, holidays, public and privilege holidays etc. It’s the same for unpaid adoption leave, except that it doesn’t qualify for pension benefits. You should use up your holidays before returning to work.
Paternity Leave Arrangements
If you’re eligible, you have a statutory right to two weeks’ paid paternity leave. You’ll find full details and the eligibility criteria on Gov.uk which also tells you what you need to do and when, including what documentation to provide.
The leave must be taken in blocks of one or two weeks and can’t be taken before your baby is born or placed for adoption. Shared Parental Leave is also something you may be able to consider and you can find out more in the section below.
You should try, where you can, to arrange your appointments at a time which won’t disrupt normal business.
Contractual Paternity Pay
You’ll be entitled to 2 weeks full pay for your period of paternity leave provided you meet the statutory requirements.
You can take this leave at or around any time of the baby’s birth or the child’s placement. In the case of adoption, this leave may be taken by either partner, instead of, but not in addition to, adoption leave.
Be aware that there are specific deadlines you have to meet if you want to claim paternity leave and pay.
Statutory Paternity Pay
Information about the rates of statutory paternity pay can be found at Gov.uk
Can I take time off to support my partner at ante-natal appointments/ high-level contact visits?
Yes. You’ll be allowed reasonable time off with pay on up to two occasions if you need to support the mother-to-be in attending antenatal care appointments or to support the primary carer-to-be in attending high level contact visits in preparation for the child’s placement for adoption.
You should ask your partner, where possible, to arrange appointments at a time which will not disrupt normal business.
If you wish to apply for paternity leave, you must tell me of your planned dates at least 15 weeks before the week the baby is expected.
Shared Parental Leave
What is Shared Parental Leave (SPL)?
Shared Parental Leave can enable mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work after their child is born or placed for adoption. As my member of staff, you may be entitled to SPL.
You’ll find full details on how the leave works and what you need to do and when on Gov.uk.
Shared Parental Pay
Your contractual provisions on Shared Parental Pay mirror those that would be payable to a birth mother or primary carer in relation to contractual Maternity or Adoption Leave, so, if you have been continuously employed by me for one year when your SPL starts, and you stay in my employment throughout your SPL, your pay will be as follows (remember this incorporates any statutory entitlement).
What about Statutory Shared Parental Pay?
Information about Statutory Shared Parental Pay can be found on Gov.uk.
SPL - how can it be split?
Parental Leave shouldn’t be confused with Shared Parental Leave. Parental leave allows you (if you’re eligible) to take 18 weeks of unpaid leave, in blocks of a week or multiples of a week, to look after your child’s welfare when your child is under 18 years old. You will find full details of your statutory rights on ACAS, which includes details on eligibility and when you need to let me know.
Your employment rights (e.g. the right to pay, holidays and returning to a job) are protected during parental leave, but this form of parental leave does not qualify towards pension contributions.
Right to Request Flexible Working
You’ll find full details of your statutory rights on Gov.uk which also details the different types of flexible working and how you go about applying.
Please remember to put the following information in your application:
the change in the working pattern applied for;
whether any previous application has been made and the date of that application;
the date on which the proposed change should start;
explain how you meet the eligibility criteria set out above; and explain what effect, if any, you think the proposed change would have on the work of my office and how in your opinion any such effect might be dealt with.
By law, if you’ve been employed with me continuously for 26 weeks then you have a statutory right to request to work on a flexible basis. I’ve gone above and beyond statutory provisions by allowing employees with less than 26 weeks’ service also to make a request.
You can’t make more than one application in 12 months: for your application to be eligible, you must not have made an application to work flexibly under the statutory right during the past 12 months.
I’ll consider your request and I’ll let you know my decision as soon as possible. If I can accept your request without the need for a meeting, I’ll let you know by email, telling you what I have agreed to and the start date. Otherwise, I’ll arrange to meet with you to discuss your request. Remember, at this meeting you have the right to be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or work colleague.
After our meeting, I’ll notify you in writing of my decision as soon as I can. I’ll either:
agree to your request to change to your working pattern and I’ll let you know the start date; or
refuse your request to change to your working pattern and set out my reasons.
What if my application is declined?
Unfortunately, there’ll be circumstances where, due to workloads/ office pressures, I’ll be unable to accept a request for flexible working. Requests will only be turned down where one of the statutory grounds for refusal applies and I’ll explain why I’m turning down your request. You can appeal a refusal, and this should be done in writing within 14 days of my decision. The appeal must be signed and dated by you. A template appeal letter can be found on Gov.uk.
As soon as I can after receiving your appeal letter, I’ll either:
uphold your appeal and agree to your request to change your working pattern without meeting with you and notify you of the change and I’ll set out the start date; or
hold a meeting with you to discuss your appeal and notify you in writing of my decision (if the appeal is upheld or not) within a reasonable time.
Again you have the right to be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or work colleague. The decision of the appeal is final. I’ll consider and decide on your request, including any appeals, within a period of three months from first receipt, unless we have agreed a longer timescale.