Overview

Learn the rules for new starters, and how to adjust staff budgets if someone starts mid-year.

You can also complete IPSA Online tasks including new starter checklists, MP staff job descriptions and pay bands, volunteer arrangement forms, and how to change employment contracts.

Before you start read Adding a new member of staff.

Scheme rules

The information below outlines the pay ranges for 2024-25 for an MP's Staff within the London area.

Job roleAnnual minimumAnnual maximum
Administrative 1 (Administrative Officer)£24,468£35,790
Administrative 2 (Senior Administrative Officer)£27,564£42,807
Administrative 3 (Office Manager)£35,447£56,047
Executive 1 (Caseworker)£25,200£40,565
Executive 2 (Senior Caseworker)£34,766£48,774
Research 2 (Parliamentary Assistant)£26,775£41,739
Research 3 (Senior Parliamentary Assistant)£38,404£59,803
Employed Interns£22,308£25,643
MP representative (MP parental leave and absence cover)£68,847

The MPs’ staff pay ranges are designed to ensure MPs have the option of paying all staff the voluntary Living Wage, also known as the Real Living Wage (as determined by the Living Wage Foundation).

Where the voluntary Living Wage is adjusted such that it exceeds the maximum of any published pay range, IPSA will treat the voluntary Living Wage as the new maximum for the remainder of the financial year.

The information below outlines the pay ranges for 2024-25 for an MP's Staff outside the London area.

Job roleAnnual minimumAnnual maximum
Administrative 1 (Administrative Officer)£22,318£30,415
Administrative 2 (Senior Administrative Officer)£25,795£37,956
Administrative 3 (Office Manager)£31,967£52,793
Executive 1 (Caseworker)£22,605£36,744
Executive 2 (Senior Caseworker)£29,727£46,381
Research 2 (Parliamentary Assistant)£25,922£38,324
Research 3 (Senior Parliamentary Assistant)£34,452£52,701
Employed Interns£22,308£25,643
MP representative (MP parental leave and absence cover)£68,847

The MPs’ staff pay ranges are designed to ensure that MPs have the option of paying all staff the voluntary Living Wage, also known as the Real Living Wage (as determined by the Living Wage Foundation).

Where the voluntary Living Wage is adjusted such that it exceeds the maximum of any published pay range, IPSA will treat the voluntary Living Wage as the new maximum for the remainder of the financial year.

Volunteers are not required to carry out specific duties for the MP, and they are assisting the MP with his or her duties on a voluntary basis.

Should the nature of the volunteer’s work change so that they would be classified as an employed intern, the MP must contact IPSA and provide the individual with a contract of employment, subject to National Minimum Wage legislation. [7.27]

MPs must notify IPSA whenever an arrangement with a volunteer comes to an end. [7.28]

Using IPSA Online

Guidance

As the independent regulator of MPs’ pay, pensions, and staffing and business costs IPSA:

MPs are required to stay within budgets for different costs that we set.

We help MPs and their staff comply with the rules by providing advice and guidance.

We monitor how well the rules are being followed, analyse spending patterns and follow up on possible breaches.

Our approach means we achieve a high level of compliance with the rules, without adding unnecessary burdens.

We are committed to openness and transparency. We publish data on MPs’ staffing and business costs every two months so that everyone can access this information.

Read the latest version of the Scheme of MPs’ Staffing and Business Costs.

You must follow these steps when you add a new staff member to your payroll.

  1. Check if you have enough money in your budget by visiting Summary of 2024-25 budgets.

  2. Decide if you want to recruit someone on a permanent, fixed-term or casual basis.

  3. Select a job description for the role you wish to recruit, and check the salary range.

  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 at this stage – their number is 020 7219 2080).

  5. Complete the security vetting forms and return them to the Pass Office. Anyone working for you should be security cleared in advance. This is for your protection and the protection of others. Until a Member (as sponsor) has been informed that security clearance has been granted for their staff member, no firm offer of employment should be made, nor must they allow that person to work on the Estate or access the Parliamentary Network.

  6. Once security clearance in accordance with House requirements is confirmed, create and print out a Contract and Key Terms for the successful candidate ensuring 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.

  7. As the employer, ensure the candidate has the right to work in the UK using the Employer's right-to-work checklist.

  8. IPSA Payroll requires the following documentation:

    • Employment contract (signed by the MP and new starter).

    • Key terms (signed by the MP and new starter) (not available for casual workers).

    • Job description (signed by the MP and new starter).

    • Ask your new starter to complete and sign a New Starter Form and provide a P45 or HMRC Starter Checklist as appropriate.

  9. Send this documentation by email to IPSA Payroll (payroll@theipsa.org.uk):

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 who are on casual contracts, we must receive the new starter documentation by the 7th of the month.

This is to allow enough time to submit timesheets for that first month.

Timesheets must be submitted by the 15th of the month.

Casual hours are paid a month in arrears (for example, hours worked in January are paid in February).

Casual staff members can be engaged on an ad-hoc basis or for a very short period of time.

A casual contract is intended for use where the MP wants to engage a worker on a genuinely ad hoc, as required, basis and there is no guarantee of work.

The worker will generally not be obligated to accept the work offered.

Someone who works under a casual contract is usually classed as a worker.

“Workers” have certain employment rights which can be different to those who are classed as “employees”.

The casual contract is not intended to establish an employment relationship. If the work pattern becomes regular – either on a full- or part-time basis – the casual staff member should move to a different type of contract. This is because offering regular work which is accepted could risk a challenge to the status of a worker.

For information about the available contracts, visit Contract types for regular work patterns.

Casual staff members who move to a different type of contract must complete a New Contract Form and send it by email to payroll@theipsa.org.uk.

Contracts can be generated using the Staff contract generator.

Casual staff members can take any job titles and roles pre-approved by IPSA – apart from the role of Intern which has a dedicated contract and job description.

For more information, visit MPs’ Staff Job Descriptions and Pay Bands for 2024-25.

The Yearly salary calculator allows offices to forecast the staffing budget expenditure for 12 months.

It is commonly used at the beginning of the financial year when the staff modelling report is unavailable.

Throughout the year, it can be used alongside the Staff Modelling Report to check whether there are any variations to the original forecast.

MPs can use the MP team report to check their current staff’s salaries and enter them into the calculator to conduct an annual overview of the total costs charged to the staffing budget.

Open the Yearly salary calculator.

New MPs can use this version of the calculator to work out their staff costs for the remainder of the 2024-25 financial year.

The salary bands for the roles are determined by IPSA and staff must be paid a salary within the appropriate band for the role.

This is paid out of the staffing budget. IPSA reviews pay bands periodically.

Ideally, MPs will advertise all job opportunities for their offices, but it is ultimately up to each MP what kind of process they go through to hire new staff, taking good recruitment practice into account.

They can choose to advertise a salary range that covers all or some of the range for the role, or a specific salary.

Once an appointment has been made, MPs must determine the individual's salary.

The MP should consider:

  • the experience and skills required for the role

  • the experience of the individual appointed, and

  • the skills/salary balance of the overall office

It would not be expected to give a new employee a salary in the upper half of a pay scale who has very limited relevant skills for the advertised role.

ACAS has produced useful guidance on good recruitment practice.

This information should be read in conjunction with the information on Family leave & holidays, which also includes guidance on parental leave.

Download the full details of MPs' Staff job descriptions and pay bands for 2024-25.

All MPs' staff employed after 7 May 2010 must have a relevant job description, as well as a contract and a salary within the relevant pay range, as set by IPSA.

IPSA has created a tool that allows MPs to generate job descriptions for new staff.

This is based on three types of roles (job families):

  • Administrative.

  • Executive.

  • Research.

MPs can choose roles for their staff at different levels, and several job titles can be used for each role depending on their needs.

There is a list in the job description generator from which you can choose the activities that apply to the role.

Before starting, users should review all the roles and duties available.

If the employee will be undertaking a mixture of two roles, please produce a job description for each.

Open resource

There may be occasions when you need to change the type of contract a staff member is employed on.

There are several options you can consider.

Transferring staff from fixed-term to permanent contracts

A member of staff may initially start work on a fixed-term contract.

If the staff member agrees to accept a permanent role it is not necessary to issue a new contract.

The fixed-term to permanent letter should be completed here outlining the changes is sufficient.

Transferring staff from casual employment to a fixed-term or permanent contract

The relationship between an MP and a casual worker has a different status from that between the MP and other staff members.

If a casual worker is offered a role within an MP's office, they must be provided with a new employment contract (fixed-term or permanent).

If their job title changes, you must provide IPSA with a new job description.

Transferring staff from a fixed-term or permanent contract to casual employment

This is less likely but depends on personal circumstances that may suit both the individual and the MP.

Once agreed, a new casual contract must be completed, as terms and conditions will vary.

The MP may also wish to discuss this with Members' HR to ensure the best approach is taken.

Changing the job title of promoted staff

When the job title of a member of staff changes – either because they have applied to a vacancy within the office, or because they have been promoted to the next level of their pay bands – the office must complete a Contractual Variation Letter and generate an updated job description.

Both forms must be signed by both parties and attached to the online contractual changes form.

Extending a fixed-term contract

A fixed-term contract may need to be extended.

If the staff member agrees to the extension it is not necessary to issue a new contract.

A Fixed-term Contract Extension Form should be completed outlining the changes.

Staff working for more than one MP

When a staff member works for more than one MP they have separate employment arrangements for each role and will have an individual contract with each MP they work for.

The staff member must make each MP aware in case there are conflicts of interest, and to ensure they receive their statutory entitlements relating to work and rest periods.

To demonstrate compliance with Working Time Regulations, each employer needs to keep a record of working hours.

Staff with more than one role with the same MP

When a staff member formally has more than one role with the same MP, the MP must prepare different part-time employment contracts for each role.

All staff benefits are the same.

An employee may be occasionally asked to undertake activities that usually fall into another job role. This is acceptable if this is occasional or forms only a small part of the activities undertaken.

If this becomes a regular occurrence or a significant part of the role (more than 20%), separate contracts should be prepared and sent to IPSA.

To demonstrate compliance with Working Time Regulations a record of working hours must be maintained.

Staff employed with a different employer

A staff member could have a part-time role within an MP’s office and another part-time role elsewhere.

This is permitted, but the staff member must make each MP aware in case there are conflicts of interest, and to ensure they receive their statutory entitlements relating to work and rest periods.

To demonstrate compliance with Working Time Regulations a record of working hours must be maintained.

Security clearance

The MP must ensure each staff member has, and maintains, the appropriate level of security clearance in line with the House of Commons Commission policy on security.

MPs must declare that they understand the security vetting requirements for each member of IPSA-funded staff.

To start the vetting process, contact the Security Vetting Team at the House.

  • Security Vetting Team, Parliamentary Security Department, Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA

  • Email: securityvetting@parliament.uk

  • Telephone: +44 (0)20 7219 5920

Right to work in the UK

As the MP is the employer, it is up to them to confirm the staff member's identity and confirm and record their right to work in the UK.

MPs must declare they have conducted the Right to Work checks on new staff members.

Paying staff salaries into UK bank accounts

IPSA will only pay MPs’ staff salaries into a UK bank account.

If a staff member does not have one, they should open one as quickly as possible to minimise payment delays.

IPSA will make all necessary deductions on behalf of the MP including national insurance and tax.

National Insurance (NI) number

As well as a UK bank account, staff must have a valid UK NI number.

If, at the time of appointment, the staff member doesn’t have a UK NI number they must apply for one as soon as possible.

Find out how to apply for a UK NI number.

The staff member must tell the MP they have applied for one and let them have the NI number as soon as it arrives. This will be passed on to IPSA.

IPSA provides model contracts and job descriptions which MPs need to use for all new staff they employ.

To help with this process IPSA has created a tool that will allow MPs to generate and print employment contracts for their staff.

Open resource

The New Starter Form should be completed by MPs when a new member of staff joins your office.

Download the New Starter Form.

Use the checklist if you start a new job or have been sent to work in the UK, so your new employer can complete their PAYE payroll.

You can use the checklist, if:

  • you have a student or postgraduate loan

  • your personal details are different to those shown on your P45

  • you do not have a P45

  • you have been sent to work temporarily in the UK by your overseas employer

You can access and complete the checklist online.

You can also download a print version, and submit it to your employer.

The New Starter Checklist is a useful tool to help ensure the correct documentation is sent to us and to allow us to process a new starter.

It also provides relevant information that can be shared with your new starter.

You can download and complete the checklist offline.

MPs can engage volunteers to assist with some basic office activities.

Volunteers are not paid a wage or salary.

If a volunteer receives any reward or payment other than their costs, this may be seen as a salary and they could be classed as an employee or worker.

It is permissible to reimburse receipted costs for travel and/or reasonable subsistence.

The MP must put an agreement in place with the volunteer that complies with the IPSA Model Volunteer Arrangement to claim any travel or subsistence costs for the volunteer.

An agreement is NOT a contract of employment and should not be treated as such.

Similar to other staff members in the MP's office, a volunteer in receipt of any IPSA funds will need to secure and maintain satisfactory security clearance(s) subject to the House of Commons Commission policy on security.

For more information, visit Right to work in the UK and security clearance.

Download the Model Volunteer Arrangement Form.

Job families are groupings of jobs related by common vocations/professions. Accordingly, they have many similarities.

Each job in a family is similar in that they:

  • require similar knowledge, skills and abilities (competencies)

  • have a continuum of knowledge, skills and abilities that represent a career path from the lowest to the highest level job

  • possess associated and related key behaviours

The job families are:

  • administrative

  • executive

  • research

  • employed Intern

  • administrative/research

The House of Commons Members’ HR Service has produced a Best Practice Recruitment and Selection Guide to provide practical advice on efficient and effective recruitment practices.

The guide aims to support Members (and their Office Managers) with the tools to attract and recruit people with diverse backgrounds, skills and abilities.

It looks at the different stages of a recruitment process, which would normally include:

  • identifying the role you need and how it will support the function of your office

  • how to write a job description in line with IPSA requirements

  • guidance on writing a person specification

  • putting an advert together and exploring various options to advertise your vacancy

  • best practice for selection methods

  • making a job offer, and the that need to be carried out, including security vetting and employment references

Read the Members of Parliament Best Practice Guide – Recruitment and Selection.

Contact IPSA

To get additional support, contact us.