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More than half of MPs plan to allow their staff to WFH after the Covid...

More than half of MPs plan to allow their staff to WFH after the Covid crisis as Parliament’s watchdog proposes allowing home workers to claim expenses for ‘ad hoc, occasional travel to Westminster’

More than half of MPs said staff will be able to WFH some, most or all of the time
Parliament’s expenses watchdog now proposing to update rules to include WFH
One change could allow WFH staff to claim expenses for travel to Parliament 

By Jack Maidment, Deputy Political Editor For Mailonline
Published: 17:23 GMT, 10 February 2022 | Updated: 17:23 GMT, 10 February 2022

More than half of MPs are planning to allow their staff to work from home after the coronavirus crisis – and rules could be changed to allow them to claim expenses for trips to Parliament. 

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) asked MPs about working from home and ‘over half of respondents told us that they had decided that in future staff will be able to work from home some, most or all of the time’.
IPSA, which oversees the MPs’ expenses system, is now consulting on updating its rules to reflect the increase in working from home. 
Currently people who WFH full-time are not allowed to claim for travel costs for work trips to Parliament. 
But IPSA is now recommending the rules ‘should be amended to allow for staff with home-based contracts to claim for ad hoc, occasional travel to Westminster and/or the constituency office’. 

The Government’s work from home guidance was officially dropped in January and Boris Johnson has made clear he wants workers to return to offices.  

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The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) asked MPs about working from home and ‘over half of respondents told us that they had decided that in future staff will be able to work from home some, most or all of the time’

IPSA today launched a new consultation on proposed changes to the rules and regulations which relate to how MPs run their parliamentary and constituency offices.  
The organisation said: ‘In 2021, we surveyed MPs’ offices relating to casework and working patterns. 

‘Around 60% of responding offices told us that staff have the option to work from home, and 27% said that they are always or mostly expected to work from home.
‘While some offices were undecided about future arrangements, only a minority said they are likely to return to pre-pandemic ways of working and over half of respondents told us that they had decided that in future staff will be able to work from home some, most or all of the time.’
IPSA said that ‘this combined with other feedback we have received has suggested that home working is likely to be far more widespread in future’ and the rules should therefore be updated to reflect that. 
IPSA’s current model contract does not provide for ‘home-based’ working, with staff technically required to be based either in Westminster or in a constituency office. 

The watchdog said MPs are able to make their own arrangements for staff to work from home but the current rules leave ‘ambiguity’.   
As a result, it said: ‘IPSA intends to update the model contract of employment to allow for home and mixed (hybrid) working arrangements.’ 
IPSA said it is ‘aware that many staff who work from home will on occasion need to travel to Westminster and/or the constituency office on parliamentary business’.  
The current rules allow for travel ‘in support of MP staff parliamentary work’ but they do not allow ‘for claims for commuting to a staff member’s contractual place of work (Westminster or the constituency office)’. 

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That means that at the moment the rules do not allow ‘home-based workers to claim for travel costs if attending the office which contractually is recorded as their normal place of work, even on an ad hoc basis’. 

The Government’s work from home guidance was officially dropped in January and Boris Johnson has made clear he wants workers to return to offices

IPSA is now recommending that the rules ‘should be amended to allow for staff with home-based contracts to claim for ad hoc, occasional travel to Westminster and/or the constituency office’. 
It added: ‘It would be the responsibility of MPs and office managers to determine what travel is necessary and what constitutes ad hoc travel as opposed to a regular commute. 

‘IPSA would reserve the option to query offices where we consider home-based workers appear to be claiming for regular commutes rather than ad hoc travel.’

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