The Trade Union Act 2016 provides for a new facility time disclosure duty to be imposed on certain public sector employers. Regulations providing greater detail have been published and the duty to report commences from 1 April on a yearly basis, with the first reports due by 31 July 2018.
Affected employers include most UK Government departments as well as those identified in the Regulations, such as certain local authority, fire, school, health service and police bodies, providing they have at least one employee who is a union official (including union learning and safety representatives) and more than 49 FTE employees. Devolved Welsh authorities are excluded.
Reporting is by way of a standard format, set out in the Regulations, and must be published in any annual report produced by the employer, on its website and, potentially, also on a government website. The information required includes: the number of such officials; the percentage of their time spent on facility time; the percentage of the pay bill spent on facility time; time spent on paid union activities. In general terms, facility time means permitted time off, taken by an official, to: carry out union, learning and safety representative duties; carry out activities representing the union; accompany a worker to a disciplinary or grievance hearing.