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Christmas Flexi-credit Scandal Discredits DWP 13/08/2010

Posted by pcsdwpsheffield in Uncategorized.
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DWP briefing 

Department for Work & Pensions Group

 To:       Branch Secretaries, Additional Branch Contact, Regional Secretaries, GEC

Date:   16 August 2010

DWP/BB/078/10

Christmas Flexi-credit Scandal Discredits DWP

Policy Change Imposed

DWP has decided to impose a policy change from 16 August 2010 to prevent the award of a Christmas Flexi-credit. PCS has condemned this unagreed unilateral change as an act of bad faith.

 Traditional Goodwill Withdrawn

Managers have had discretion to award a flexi-credit under flexible working hours policies and procedures for over 30 years. This discretion was invariably used at the Christmas period as an expression of goodwill towards staff rather than a reward for performance or achievement.

 DWP has now made a deliberate decision to not only classify the Christmas Flexi-credit as “a reward” but also prohibit managers from using their discretion to give any such reward.

 Policy, Procedure and Advice Changes

DWP has imposed changes to Flexible Working Hours Policy, Procedures and Advice: 

  • Policy paragraph 12 is amended by the introduction of a ban on time credits being given to cover absences for things such as Christmas meals or Christmas shopping time or the use of time credits as a reward tool to recognise key achievements.
  • Procedure Paragraph 3.1 has a similar amendment imposed.
  • Advice Q&A 8 has been revised to impose confirmation that flexi credits must not be used as a general reward and that managers do not have discretion to give flexi credits to recognise key achievements. The Department operates a bonus and award scheme to recognise and reward exceptional personal or team achievement.

 Scandal Discredits DWP

The changes imposed by DWP provide demonstrable evidence that the assertions made by Jobcentre Plus in 2009, that managers had no discretion to award such credits, were neither supported by long established custom and practice or the letter and spirit of flexible working hours policy. This scandal will discredit DWP for so long as the unagreed and unacceptable changes remain in place.   

 PCS Conference Policy and Campaign

The 2009 Jobcentre Plus decision not to award a Christmas flexi credit was debated in May 2010 at the PCS DWP Group Conference which carried Motion A97. PCS is therefore committed to restore the flexi-credit of 3.42 to those staff who missed out in 2009 and to restore the custom and practice to all staff in future. Campaign materials and guidance are being drafted and will be issued to members and representatives.

 DAVID BURKE

Group Assistant Secretary

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