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NEWS 2022

04 January 2022
Improved flexibility for Work Breaks for part-time employees from 4th January 2022
To: All Members and GEC - DWP/MB/001/22

Improved flexibility to take breaks in the lunch period
PCS has reached agreement with DWP for improvements for how part-time employees may use their daily paid breaks time during the lunch period. The pre-2022 policy limit on the amount of daily paid break time that a part-time employee may use during the lunch period is abolished from 01/01/22. Where part-time employees wish to take a break at lunch time, they should be allowed to do so wherever operationally possible. Apart from any unpaid meal break they may arrange, part-time employees can also use some or all of their ordinary daily paid break time over the lunch period, which may include a single break up to their full pro rata allocation provided this is operationally possible and their line manager agrees.                                             

In addition to any daily meal break, employees in all parts of DWP, both Operations and Corporate, will have the opportunity to take reasonable breaks in normal, paid working time to help them maintain their health, safety and well-being. In respect of this, managers in Operations, Debt Management and the customer contact parts of Benefit Payment Systems Group will allow formal paid breaks up to a cumulative total of 30 minutes daily (e.g. 2 x 15-minute or 3 x10-minute breaks). For part-time employees the pro rata principle will be applied on the basis that the rate of accrual for these breaks for all employees will be at a rate of one 5-minute break for each hour of the employee’s working day up to a total of 30 minutes daily.

Flexible Working Hours Agreement (FWHA) Procedures Improved
FWHA Procedure 10.1 has been amended to state: 10.1 Breaks - Employees must have the opportunity to take a flexible meal / lunch break somewhere in the middle of their working day. In accordance with the Work Breaks policy, this will be a paid meal break for full time employees and an unpaid meal break for part-time employees. Where part-time employees wish to take a break at lunch time, they should be allowed to do so wherever operationally possible. Apart from any unpaid meal break they may arrange, part-time employees can also use some or all of their ordinary daily paid break time over the lunch period, which may include a single break up to their full pro rata allocation (as described in paragraph 10.2), provided this is operationally possible and their line manager agrees. The pre-2022 policy limit on the amount of daily paid break time that a part-time employee could ask to use over lunch was abolished. In any case, full-time and part-time employees’ meal breaks must not be taken at the beginning or end of the working day.

Work Breaks Procedure 14 Improved
Work Breaks Procedure 14 has been amended to state:  14. Breaks for full-time employees must be taken outside of a period defined as a lunch period for that employee’s working pattern. However, where part-time employees wish to take a break at lunch time, they should be allowed to do so wherever operationally possible. Apart from any unpaid meal break they may arrange, part-time employees can also use some or all of their ordinary daily paid break time over the lunch period, which may include a single break up to their full pro rata allocation (as described in paragraph 11.2), provided this is operationally possible and their line manager agrees. The pre-2022 policy limit on the amount of daily paid break time that a part-time employee could ask to use over lunch was abolished. In any case, full-time and part-time employees’ meal breaks must not be taken at the beginning or end of the working day.

PCS advice, support, and representation
Contact your local PCS Representative for advice, support and representation for any issues that arise for your access to paid breaks under the FWHA and Breaks Policy.

Members should use the normal Grievance & Appeal Procedures, with the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative, when they have a dispute about the application of the FWHA and or Work Breaks Policy in their personal case which is not resolved informally. Perverse decisions should be reported to PCS at the address below

Members with urgent enquiries may also contact leeds@pcs.org.uk

PCS continue to hold the safety of our members as our highest priority. If you know of non-members that will benefit from joining PCS, please point them to the PCS website to join online.

David Burke                                  
Group Assistant Secretary         

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