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​Employing Staff

How to get a new member of staff on to the payroll



As an MP you are responsible for employing the staff you need to assist you with your Parliamentary functions. IPSA provides you with a Staffing Budget to meet the costs of employing staff.


The current annual budgets for 2016-17 are:

London area MP: £148,500

Non-London area MP: £141,400


The budgets are based on an assumption of four full-time equivalent staff covering a range of functions including office management, administrative support, casework and research. IPSA provides you with a set of standard contracts and job descriptions which you need to use when employing staff.

We also set the associated pay-scales for each role, and you will need to stay within the relevant budget limit above. Subject to these requirements, it is your choice which job roles you have within your team and how many people you decide to employ.

We also administer payroll and pension payments for your staff as appropriate. Where relevant (e.g. when you leave Parliament) we will calculate and make redundancy payments. Staff salaries, staff pensions and employer National Insurance contributions all come from the Staffing Budget. Redundancy payments come from a separate Contingency Budget.

What IPSA doesn’t do is offer you HR advice (e.g. on how to recruit a member of staff). This is provided by the Members’ HR Advice Service in the House of Commons.

Further information about the Staffing Budget can be found in chapter seven of the MPs' Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses.


Steps to follow

If you want to put a new member of staff on to your payroll, the steps you need to follow are:

  1. Select a job description for the role to which you wish to recruit, and check the salary range.
  2. Check if you have enough money in your budget.
  3. Decide if you want to recruit someone on a Permanent, Fixed-Term or Casual basis.
  4. Advertise the vacancy and conduct appropriate assessments to ensure you have the best candidate for the role. (The Members’ HR Advice Service in the House of Commons can provide advice on this stage – their number is 020 7219 2080.)
  5. Create and print out a contract for the successful candidate ensuring that the job title is the same as the one in the job description. It is important to note that standard terms within contracts for MPs’ employees cannot be amended or deleted.
  6. Ask your employee to sign the contract (in blue ink) and also ask them to complete and sign the Employee New Starter Form. The latter also asks the individual to enclose a P45 or HMRC Starter Checklist.
  7. Send IPSA:
    • The original version of the contract  (signed by you and your employee in blue ink)
    • The job description for the role
    • Employee New Starter Form (signed by your employee), with a P45 or HMRC New Starter Checklist enclosed as appropriate.

For new staff on Permanent and Fixed-Term contracts, we need to receive this documentation by the 15th of the month to ensure the employee is paid at the end of the month.

For new staff on Casual contracts we need to receive the documentation by the 7th of the month. This deadline is necessary to ensure that any authrosied time-sheets relating to work up to the 15th will be included in that month's payroll.


Other useful information

Contractual terms: as above, standard terms within contracts for MPs’ employees cannot be amended or deleted. If salary or hours or work subsequently change however, this can be recorded using the salary or hours amendment form – there is no need to create a new contract.


Moving from a Casual or Fixed-Term contract to a Permanent contract: if you offer a Casual member of staff a Permanent appointment, you will need to create a Permanent contract for them. Moving from a Fixed-Term to Permanent contract can be done via a letter.


Extending a Fixed-Term contract: there is also a standard letter for extending a Fixed-Term appointment. We will need a signed copy of this along with this letter with the relevant form.


Employees without a P45: a P45 is the form people get from their employers when they stop working for them. In the absence of a P45, either because this is the employee’s first job or because the former employer has not yet sent the P45, the employee needs to complete the HMRC Starter Checklist. If no P45 or New Starter Form is received the employee is placed on a tax code of 0T1, which means s/he will not receive any tax-free personal allowance and will pay tax on all of his/her salary. It is important therefore that we receive an HMRC Starter Checklist, even if the employee is expecting a P45 in the near future. A P45 can always be sent later and will replace any information provided on the Checklist.


Timesheets: salary payments for casual employees are processed upon receipt of weekly timesheets, which confirm the number of hours worked each day. Online timesheets are also used by part-time staff who work additional hours, and full-time staff who work overtime. More information can be found in the online timesheets user guide.


Pensions for your staff:  Your staff will automatically be enrolled into the MP Staff Pension Scheme. This is a non-contributory scheme which IPSA administers on behalf of MPs. IPSA makes contributions into the scheme of 10% of gross pay. A separate website giving details of the scheme is here.


Employed Interns: Interns are paid at least the national minimum wage and should be issued a Fixed Term or Casual contract. Employed internships are typically understood to be a period of workplace learning usually lasting between 3-12 months in a position which generally requires a higher level of qualification than other forms of work experience. Employed internships are believed to be a way for individuals to develop the skills and experience that may aid future employment opportunities.


Volunteers: you are able to have volunteers working with you and can pay them incidental expenses. To do this you need to:

  • register the volunteer’s name and starting date on the Expenses System and print the bar code report;
  • complete the Model Volunteer Arrangement and return it to IPSA together with the bar code report. Once the form is received the status of the volunteer registration on the online expenses system will change to “Approved”. Once the status changes to “approved” you may claim payments for your volunteer’s expenses.

Funding to cover sickness and family leave: additional funds are available to pay costs if an MP’s employee is absent from work due to sickness and maternity, paternity or adoption leave.


If you need any further information or help, please contact us:

Our phones lines are normally open from 10am to 5pm.