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Overtime, leave and payments in lieu of notice paid to connected parties since March 2015
CAS-49399
Disclosure Date:27 May 2016
Categories: MPs' CONNECTED PARTIES
Exemptions Applied: Section 40
Request

Please can I be supplied with a full breakdown of all overtime paid to connected parties since April 2015.

Could I also be supplied with breakdowns of payments in lieu of holiday, and in lieu of notice, since March 2015.

The individuals should be named with the payments, in keeping with your previous disclosures.

Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

Under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), a connected party is defined as:

  1. a spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner of the member;
  2. parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece of the member or of a spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner of the member; or
  3. a body corporate, a firm or a trust with which the MP is connected as defined in section 252 of the Companies Act 2006.

Staffing Expenditure may only be paid for the salary of one employee who is a connected party, unless an MP employed more than one connected party on 7 May 2010.

At the end of each financial year, we publish information on each MP’s expenditure over the course of the year. This includes information relating to any connected parties employed during the year, including their name, job title, salary band and whether they were employed full or part time. This information can be found on our publication website at the following address: http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk/AnnualisedData.aspx.

Where a staff member employed by an MP works hours additional to their contracted hours, overtime payments may be paid from the Staffing Expenditure budget.

Overtime is typically paid to part-time members of staff at their standard hourly rate, until their full-time equivalent hours are reached. For full-time staff (and part-time staff exceeding their full-time equivalent hours), the overtime rate is typically paid at 1.5 times the hourly rate.

Overtime may also be paid to existing staff members who are providing cover for staff members who are absent due to long term sick leave or parental leave, for example. In these instances, overtime may be paid through the contingency fund where the MP has notified IPSA of the need to cover staff absence.

Further, if a former MP does not require a staff member to work their entire notice period or their notice period extends beyond the last day on which they are permitted to employ staff (the last day of the winding-up period), they may grant a payment in lieu of notice (PILON) for some or all of the staff member’s notice period. This payment is at the normal rate for the staff member’s salary and is taxed as if a normal salary payment. It is not included in the tax free redundancy amount.

Information previous disclosed and already publicly available

In April 2015, we responded to a request under the FOIA for the number of overtime hours worked by connected parties between April 2013 and April 2015. We publish all responses to requests under the FOIA, and our response to this request can be found at the following address: http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk/transparency/FOI/2014-15%20Freedom%20of%20information%20requests%20and%20responses/wF1415-160.pdf

On 17 May 2016, we responded to another request for the number of overtime hours worked by connected parties during the course of the 2010-2015 Parliament. This provided the number of hours paid to connected parties, broken down by MP, and the total value of all the hours worked. Our response can be found at the following address: http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk/transparency/FOI/2016-17%20Freedom%20of%20information%20requests%20and%20responses/CAS-47630%20-%20Connected%20parties'%20overtime.pdf

Payments made to connected parties

Most information relating to the employment of an individual is their ‘personal data’ under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). In considering such requests, we must balance the legitimate interests of the public with the rights of the connected parties to privacy under the terms of the DPA. We have previously judged that disclosure of the number of hours worked is in the legitimate interests of the public, and outweighs the rights of the individuals.

However, on balance, we consider that disclosure of individual, specific payments which are directly attributable to the connected parties in question, would breach Schedule 1 of the DPA. Section 40(2) of the FOIA provides that personal information about third parties is exempt information if disclosure would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the DPA, where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential. As such, we are withholding the information that you have requested, relating to specific payments made to connected parties, under section 40(2) of the FOIA.

You can find out more information about personal data and FOI via guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on their website: http://ico.org.uk.