DWP refuses paid time off to attend AGMs

18 Jan 2019

For the second year running DWP has refused to allow paid time off for members to attend workplace AGMs, branch AGMs or mandating meetings.

Refusing you paid time off to attend your AGM is a direct attack on PCS and its members. It is a deliberate attempt to put members off from actively participating in the democratic functions of their union. Despite all the hard work that PCS members have contributed to the department in the last year, management won’t even allow you a small amount of paid time off to attend your AGM.

Don’t be put off

Members should not be put off though. You can still attend your workplace and branch AGM and mandating meeting. There are a number of ways that you can do so.

  • You can take flexi or annual leave
  • You can use assumed consent, though this would depend on the timing of your AGM    and whether you had a fixed or flexible end of the day
  • You can have an extended lunch break, again depending on the timing of the AGM
  • You can apply for Trade Union Activities (TUA) time off.

Whichever way you take time off to attend your AGM, it is best to give your manager as much notice as possible so that they can plan for your absence.

All PCS members can attend and vote their workplace AGM, their branch AGM and their mandating meeting.

Trade Union Activities (TUA)

PCS members may be allowed reasonable time off to attend union meetings like AGMs but that time off is unpaid. This time off is classed as TUA in the DWP Employee Relations Framework.

When you take TUA your flexi would not be affected and you would not have to flex off, but you would not be paid for the time that you took to attend the meeting. So if you took one hour TUA to attend you AGM then you would expect to have one hour’s pay deducted from your salary.

However SOP is unable to deduct pay for periods of less than half a day. So if you only took one hour’s TUA than your pay would be unaffected initially. However time off taken as TUA accumulates. This means that if a member taken one hour’s TUA to attend their AGM for the next four years, then at year 4 they would have taken more than a half a day of TUA in total. At that point, in year 4, the total of 4 hours TUA time would be deducted from salary.

Members do need to seek prior management approval to take TUA time to attend their AGMs. If you want to use TUA to attend your AGM we would advise you to apply for TUA for your AGMs as soon as possible.

PCS will continue to campaign for the restoration of paid time off for members to attend their AGMs and workplace meetings.

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