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Dissolution guidance for MPs' staff

1. Can I campaign during the dissolution period?

Yes, but it is important that it is not during paid work time. You can:

  • campaign outside your normal working hours (e.g. in the evenings and at weekends);
  • take annual leave;
  • take unpaid leave;
  • use any time off in lieu you've accrued (for example, if you have done overtime for which have not been paid)

This is because MPs are not allowed to use any taxpayer-funded business costs and expenses, including staff time, travel, and office equipment for any electoral purposes. To do so would be an illegal campaign donation under electoral law.

2. What casework can I do for my MP during the dissolution period?

You may continue to work on casework and other activities which are not connected with the election, but you may not campaign for your MP, the party or any other candidate on paid IPSA time or using IPSA-funded equipment and accommodation. It is for your MP to judge what work you may do, but you must be careful not to do anything that could be construed as electoral campaigning.

3. What happens to my salary during dissolution?

You will be paid your salary as normal (unless you take unpaid leave) on the last working day of the month. If you are taking unpaid leave, your MP will need to tell us in advance, so that your salary can be adjusted.

4. Can I claim travel during dissolution?

Yes, staff will be able to claim as normal during dissolution but only if the travel is for parliamentary purposes. IPSA will not fund any campaign costs.

If you are working at an office you are not usually based in when dissolution begins, you can claim an additional journey to get back to your usual place of work. This journey will not count as one of the 96 journeys per year which MPs can claim for their staff between the constituency and Westminster.

5. I help my MP manage his or her expenses; what do I need to know about the rules during the dissolution period?

MPs have received their own guidance about what they can and cannot do during dissolution. This can be found on our website. The overriding principle, as ever, is that MPs cannot claim for any funds to do with campaigning. All claims must be for expenditure required to carry out an MP's parliamentary functions and not for any electoral activity.

This means that if MPs use their IPSA-funded offices for any activities connected with the election, they may only claim from us that proportion of the rent, utilities and other costs which relate to their parliamentary activity. It is up to the MP to claim the correct amount from IPSA, either by changing the amount claimed by reimbursement, or by sending a cheque to IPSA to repay an amount that is not claimable. For example, if IPSA pays your MP's constituency office rent direct to the landlord and the MP uses the office for 25% of one month for campaigning purposes, your MP would need to repay to IPSA a quarter of that month's rent.

6. If I work in Westminster, what happens to me during dissolution?

Members of staff who work in Westminster will no longer be able to work there during dissolution (please see the House of Commons Dissolution guidance for details). If there is no urgent work for you to do, you may consider taking annual leave, as long as you have annual leave days available. If you are required to carry out parliamentary work, you can either:

  • work from home; or
  • work from the constituency office.

If you choose to work from home, you can claim the cost of your travel from London to the constituency and hotel costs to stay within the constituency if necessary. These costs should not be claimed if you will be campaigning in the election.

7. Who is my manager during the dissolution period?

There will be no change to your relationship with your MP during dissolution. Your MP will continue to be your employer.

8. What happens if my MP stands down at the Election, or loses his or her seat?

If your MP stands down or loses his or her seat, you will be made redundant. Your MP is your employer and he or she will need to manage that process.

For further details on the redundancy process, please see the House of Commons Dissolution Guidance (Part 2). Your Member will also be advised by the Personnel Advice Service (PAS) which provides HR advice to MPs in their role as employers (pas@parliament.uk or 020 7219 2080). This helps ensure Members are aware of their responsibilities as part of the redundancy process, and that you are provided with the correct information about your entitlements. IPSA manages the payroll function, so please make sure we have your correct address. We will need to send you a P45 in the post if you are made redundant. Further information about redundancy payments is included in the Appendix.

9. What happens to my pension if my MP stands down at the Election, or loses his or her seat?

If you leave your employment with your MP, IPSA will stop paying your pension contributions along with any life insurance benefits provided on behalf of your employer. If you intend to take your pension benefits you will need to contact your insurance provider to inform them. For the Portcullis Pension Plan, which the majority of staff belong to, you will need to contact one or both of the insurance companies:

  • Aviva can be contacted on 0845 900 0817
  • Friends Life (formerly AXA) can be contacted on 0845 300 3172

10. If my MP stands down or loses his or her seat, what do we do with the office equipment?

The MPs' Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses explains that MPs who leave Parliament should make arrangements to dispose of office equipment and furniture purchased with IPSA funds. They may choose to transfer these items to their successor or another MP, or donate equipment to a charity of their choice. If the MP makes a profit from disposing of equipment, they should refund this to IPSA. MPs should dispose of any equipment safely and securely, in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. For other Data Protection queries, see pages 26 and 27 of the House of Commons Dissolution Arrangements.

11. What happens if I start working for a different MP after the Election?

If you work for a different MP after the Election (either in the same constituency or a different one) this counts as starting a new employment. This means you can receive a redundancy payment, if you are entitled to one, from your service with your 'old' MP (see question 7 above). However, you will not receive continuity of service benefits, i.e. the years you worked for the previous MP will not be included in a future redundancy calculation.

As set out the House of Commons guidance, strict data protection rules apply if you begin working for a new MP. You must not transfer any constituency case files that you hold from the previous MP to use with the new MP, unless the constituent has consented to your doing so.

12. Can I move from a non-IPSA contract to an IPSA contract before the election?

The deadline has now passed to move from a House of Commons contract of employment to an IPSA contract.

13. How will IPSA support me?

We will contact you again nearer the time and further information will also be on our website.

Our Information Line opening hours were extended in June; we are open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday to answer all your queries.

Should you have any questions, please contact us on 020 7811 6400 or at info@parliamentarystandards.org.uk.

APPENDIX: Redundancy payments

If you have completed two years' service with the same MP without a break, you will generally (some exclusions may apply) receive a redundancy payment, calculated on the number of completed years of continuous service, age and weekly salary. The amount depends on whether you are on an IPSA contract or not.

If you are not on an IPSA contract, your redundancy payment will be as stated in your non-IPSA contract. If redundancy is not specified in your contract, you will receive your statutory redundancy entitlement (see below).

If you are on an IPSA contract, you will be paid double your statutory entitlement.

Statutory entitlement

The statutory entitlement is:

  • Half a week's pay (up to the weekly cap) for each full year of service in which you were aged 21 or under;
  • One week's pay (up to the weekly cap) for each full year of service in which you were aged between 22 and 40; or
  • One and a half week's pay (up to the weekly cap) for each full year of service in which you were aged 41 or above.
You can find the current weekly cap and calculate redundancy at https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-redundancy-pay

 

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