§ Mr. Tynan
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employees in his Department have(a) signed a formal opt out from and (b) are exempt from the Working Time Directive; and how many employees in his Department have recorded hours, including any accruing on a flexitime basis, in excess of the maximum allowed under the Working Time Directive in the last month for which figures are available. 
§ Jane Kennedy
The Department for Work and Pensions discourages staff from working excess hours as a matter of principle, as it runs contrary to the values which the Department holds on respecting people, and reflects its concerns as a reasonable employer for employees' work/life balance. All timesheets are locally checked on a monthly basis with responsibility devolved to individual line managers to monitor the situation.
Where employees in the Department for Work and Pensions wish to opt out of the Working Time Directive, managers are instructed to explore all available alternatives such as redesigning jobs and allocating extra resources to avoid excess hours being worked. At the end of that process, employees in the Department who still wish to opt out are required to sign an opt out agreement. A register of such staff is maintained centrally.
In 2003 there were 13 staff in the Department in pay bands up to Unified Grade 6 who had recorded such an opt out and eight in senior civil service pay bands.
Statistics for the year ending May 2004 are in the process of being collated and figures should be available by the end of June.
No employees are covered by sector specific provisions.
Information is not held centrally on the numbers of staff who have recorded hours in excess of the maximum allowed under the Working Time Directive, including any accruing on a flexitime basis. Such information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.1264W