On 1 April 2017, regulations came into force which require many education providers to publish information about facilities time before 31 July 2018. However, with the already increased pressures on schools, colleges and universities this year from gender pay gap reporting and GDPR, it may be that the reporting requirements under the Trade Union (Facility Time Publication Requirements) Regulations 2017 (the “Regulations”) have been put to the back of the to do pile. So we have set out below what you need to know to ensure you are ready for the deadline.
What is facilities time?
The Regulations require employers to provide information about facilities time, which includes time taken off work by employees for the following:
- Carrying out union duties, the duties of a union learning representative or union activities;
- Accompanying a worker to a disciplinary or grievance hearing; or
- Carrying out duties and receiving training as a union safety representative.
Which establishments need to report?
The requirements under the Regulations apply only to establishments with at least one union official and which can be classified as a “relevant public sector employer”. Schedule 1 of the Regulations provides a list of those that fall within this definition including:
- The governing body of a foundation school, voluntary aided school or foundation special school;
- An academy trust; and
- A further or higher education provider.
In community and voluntary controlled schools, where the employer of staff is the local authority, the individual school will not be required to report separately. Although they may be required to assist their local authority in collecting the necessary information. However, in academies, foundation and voluntary aided schools, where the employer of staff is the trust or the governing body, it will be for the individual establishment to comply with the Regulations.
In addition, only those employers that meet the “employee number condition” will be required to report. This will be met by those employing more than 49 full time equivalent employees for seven out of the previous twelve months (from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018).
What information needs to be provided?
The information to be provided by those employers meeting the conditions is set out in the Regulations. It is a requirement that the information is provided in the table format provided at Schedule 2.
In summary, the required information includes:
- The number of employees that were union officials, including the full time equivalent figure during the time period;
- The percentage of time spent on facility time by those employees;
- The percentage of the employer’s total pay bill spent on facility time; and
- The number of hours spent on paid union activities as a percentage of paid facility time hours.
Once this information has been collected in the table it will need to be published on the employer’s website and, if they produce an annual report, it should also be included in there.
How Nelsons Solicitors Can Help
Laura Evans is a specialist Education and Employment Law Solicitor at Nelsons.
If you require any further information about the Regulations or if you have any other employment law or HR queries, please contact Nelsons’ Education team on 0800 0241 976 or contact us via the online form to find out how we can help.