MP introduces bill to give trustees the right to unpaid time off

Labour's Susan Elan Jones's 10-minute rule bill would give trustees the same rights as, for example, school governors, councillors and magistrates

Susan Elan Jones (Photograph: Chris McAndrew)
Susan Elan Jones (Photograph: Chris McAndrew)

A proposed new law that would give trustees the right to unpaid time off to perform their duties has been presented to parliament.

A 10-minute rule bill, which was put forward yesterday by Susan Elan Jones, the Labour MP for Clwyd South and co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Charity and Volunteering, is designed to give charity trustees the same rights as school governors, local councillors, magistrates, members of health authorities or tribunals, and trade union officers.

Under existing law, trustees are not among the professions that are entitled to "reasonable" time off to perform their duties.

The time off can be unpaid and must be agreed beforehand between the employer and employee, depending on the amount of time off required and the potential impact on the business.

Ten-minute rule bills are typically introduced by backbench MPs in order to highlight a certain cause or issue, but the majority do not gain sufficient support in parliament to become law.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Elan Jones said the bill would show the nation valued the work of trustees.

It would also encourage greater diversity across the sector and help people get board-level experience, she said.

"Trusteeships offer a rare opportunity for people to gain board-level experience early in their careers or even before their careers have fully begun," Elan Jones told MPs.

"The best companies are already leading the way by supporting their employees as they take on trustee roles. They welcome the part that charity trusteeships can play in offering their staff vital board-level experience. I believe it is essential that such experience is offered widely."

The bill will be read a second time on Friday 22 March.

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