Browse the resources to help you make contractual changes and develop job descriptions.

Download the forms you need to extend fixed-term or casual contracts, hire apprentices, and make contract variations.

Using IPSA Online


Since 2015, it has been a requirement for all new MPs' staff members to be on an IPSA model contract.

The July 2024 version of the model contract has been updated to ensure compliance with employment law and best practice.

This guidance document supports MPs as employers to understand their responsibilities and the staff member's contracts.

This guidance should be read alongside the relevant model employment contract and key terms document.

Any staff member contracts and Key Terms documents (unless they are agreements for volunteers or apprentices) will be emailed to you when you finish entering the necessary information in the Staff contract generator.

Role and responsibilities when employing staff

The MP

The MP alone is the employer of their staff.

Day-to-day management of the office can be taken by others as delegated by the MP, but the MP remains liable for all employment practices undertaken.

Neither an “MP representative” nor the designated “Proxy” can have the employment relationship transferred to them.

Each MP will also be a data controller and retain a privacy notice about the handling and management of data. This includes staff members' personal data for employment purposes, which must be securely maintained.


IPSA fulfils its regulatory role by providing model contracts and agreements for MPs to use when hiring their staff.

This role includes providing model job descriptions and salary ranges. IPSA also provides payroll services.

All IPSA-funded staff must use an IPSA contract to ensure consistency across all MPs’ staff and that employment conditions are up-to-date with employment law.

As the employer of staff, it is the responsibility of the MP to ensure they adhere to good practice when employing staff and managing their offices.

Members HR

The Members' and Members' Staff HR Advice Service is based in the House of Commons and provides advice and guidance to MPs on HR and employment matters.

You can contact them by telephone at 0207 219 2080 or by email at membershr@parliament.uk.

MPs’ staff

MPs’ staff can either be employees or workers. The status of the staff member is determined by employment law.

It is vital that the correct contract/agreement is used because it is the reality of the working relationship that determines the status of the staff member for employment and tax purposes.

The following documents outline the behaviours and expectations of those working in the Parliamentary community:

2024 model contract and important updates

The current IPSA model employment contract and Key Terms document has been in place since 5 July 2024.

These documents are for those staff with a regular working pattern.

The main contract contains the standard terms for all staff.

Key terms

The Key Terms document is specific and unique to each employed person and will be populated accordingly.

It outlines their salary, work hours, job title and holiday entitlement.

This document informs the staff member about expectations and entitlements.

Additional agreements

Updated agreements for casual workers, apprentices, and the volunteer arrangement have been in place since 5 July 2024.

These agreements do not have a separate Key Terms document.

Each member of staff should have access to:

  • their contract/agreement with standard terms for all staff

  • key terms which are specific to the person (only for those with regular hours contracts)

  • a job description that sets out the requirements and expectations of the job role

  • the policies and procedures covering sick pay, family leave, disciplinary and grievance found on IPSA's MP and Staff website

Definitions within the new model contract

The new standard model contract and Key Terms document form the basis of the employment contract for all regular work patterns.

Within the contract, the following words have a specific meaning as set out in the Key Terms document.

  • Confidential Information has the meaning given in the Key Terms.

  • Constituency has the meaning given in the Key Terms.

  • IPSA means the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

  • IPSA Online means the IPSA's MP and Staff website.

  • Key Terms means the statement of key terms of the employment attached to the Agreement.

  • Salary has the meaning given in the Key Terms.

  • Start date has the meaning given in the Key Terms.

  • TOIL means time off in lieu.

  • Winding-up Period has the meaning set out in The Scheme of MPs’ Staffing and Business Costs as currently in force.

Rules and procedures

The Employment Rights Act 1996 determines what information should be provided to a staff member in the contract terms.

The policies and procedures referred to in the contract/agreement and key terms are found on our IPSA's MP and Staff website and may be subject to change, with notice, should any relevant legislation change.

The main sections referred to in the Key Terms documents that contain more detail are:

Employer responsibility under the Working Time Regulations

As an employer, MPs have responsibilities under the Working Time Regulations 1998 or Working Time Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016.

The Regulations are a set of rules for protecting the working time and rest breaks of staff members and are there to ensure individuals do not work more than 48 hours a week (averaged over 17 weeks).

A staff member can agree to work more hours and can sign an opt-out. This may be relevant for those staff who work for more than one MP or more than one employer.

MPs as employers are required to keep records of the working hours of their staff, including any written agreements where staff have opted out of the maximum working hours per week. This is to demonstrate compliance with the Regulations.

More information explaining the Working Time Regulations is available from ACAS.

For more information, please contact the Members' and Members' Staff HR Advice Team on 020 7219 2080 or by email at membershr@parliament.uk.

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.

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.

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

IPSA's Staff contract generator enables MPs to create employment contracts for their staff.

A variety of contract types are available and each contract can be created with full or part-time options.

It is important to choose the correct type of contract or agreement for the work pattern you intend the staff member to follow.

Permanent contract

This should be used when there is an ongoing need for a role and this is “business as usual”.

This can be created as full-time or part-time. This will be the most usual type of contract used within the office.

Fixed-term contract

This must be used when you require someone for a defined period.

This could be to cover maternity leave, a period of sickness or to undertake a specific piece of work.

They should not be used to “trial” an employee where the intent is for a role to be permanent. The probationary period should be used to determine the suitability of the employee.

It can be used for a relatively short time, especially for regular working hours.

In the context of employment law, the period employees must have worked continuously to qualify for certain statutory rights is known as the qualifying period, which is currently two years.

Rights enjoyed after this period include the right not to be unfairly dismissed and the right to claim statutory redundancy pay if dismissed due to redundancy.

An employee who has had a series of fixed-term contracts lasting more than four years of continuous service is deemed to be a permanent employee.

If this situation arises, the employee should be moved to a permanent contract.

This can be created as full-time or part-time.

Term-time contract

This is a permanent contract created specifically for individuals who are only required to work when the House is sitting or wish to work when their children are at school.

This is a specific type of part-time contract.

The actual salary for these roles includes a payment equivalent to the amount of holiday accrued across the year.

The total amount is paid in 12 equal instalments.

The staff member must, therefore, take their annual leave during the recess/school holidays.

This can be created as full-time or part-time.

Intern contract

This type of fixed-term contract is provided to someone new to the field of work, or who wishes to gain some paid work experience within the office of an MP.

The intern usually undertakes general activities within the office and gains experience in all areas. The period of employment is normally between three and 12 months but must be no longer than 12 months.

Employed internships are believed to be a way for individuals to develop the skills and experience that may aid future employment opportunities.

The weekly hours of work for this contract must not exceed 37.5.

There is a specific pay range for this type of employee. If they are ever offered a permanent or fixed-term role in the office the intern must be transferred to an appropriate contract type and paid on the relevant pay scale.

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.

An apprentice is a member of staff who attends work alongside undertaking a specific training programme.

There are usually two contracts signed for this type of employee, one between the employer and the education establishment which outlines the training provided for the apprentice and, a contract of employment between the MP and the apprentice.

The MP must decide the appropriateness of the contract between them and the education establishment.

When you issue an apprentice agreement you must attach a copy of the relevant Apprenticeship Standard.

The arrangements for apprenticeships differ across the four UK countries.

If you want to issue an apprenticeship agreement for Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland please contact payroll@theipsa.org.uk.

There are particular pay scales for this type of employee that should be followed.

Apprenticeships are for fixed periods and vary depending on the type of apprenticeship.

This apprenticeship agreement sets out the principal duties and responsibilities of the parties in accordance with the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Download a copy of the Sample Apprentice Agreement.

Making an apprentice redundant

Apprentices are a specific type of fixed-term contract.

If the contract needs to be ended before the natural end date – such as after the MP stands down or loses their seat at the General Election – they must be treated like all other staff on fixed-term contracts and made redundant following the appropriate process.

Contracts for apprentices vary in length depending on their programme and this may mean that the staff member may not have enough length of service to qualify for a redundancy payment.

In addition, the MP will have an agreement with a college to provide the education element of the apprenticeship.

The MP should also raise this issue with the college so they become aware of the situation before making the staff member redundant.

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.

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

Use the Fixed-term Contract Extension Form when you want to make changes to existing fixed-term contracts.

Download the Fixed-term Contract Extension Form.

Use the Fixed-term Going Permanent Letter when you want to change the contract status of a fixed-term employee to make them permanent.

Download the Fixed-term Going Permanent Letter.

The sample Contract Variation Letter can be used to inform your employees of a change to their employment contract.

Download the Contract Variation Letter.

Contact IPSA

To get additional support, contact us.