Guidance: Report trade union facility time data

Cabinet Office

May 22
17:56 2024


The government recognises that there are significant benefits to both employers and employees when organisations and unions work together effectively to deliver high quality public service, but facility time within the public sector must be accountable and represent value for money.

The Trade Union (Facility Time Publication Requirements) Regulations came into force on 1 April 2017, requiring public sector organisations who employ over 49 Full Time Equivalent Staff to publish information relating to trade union usage/spend. These regulations provide a framework for open and transparent monitoring.

During the passage of the Trade Union Act 2016, the government committed to develop guidance to help employers meet this legislative requirements and to ensure a high level of transparency and consistency across organisations. Over the past year, the government has sought feedback from public sector organisations and Trade Unions to improve guidance based on this feedback.

The Trade Union Facility Time Publication Services deadline for public sector organisations to centrally submit data is 31 July.

The Civil Service is leading by example and demonstrating that greater accountability can result in sensible savings, demonstrating effective use of taxpayers money. The government strongly encourages all public sector organisations to ensure facility time spend represents value for money by aiming to reduce facility time spend to 0.06% of paybill as achieved by the Civil Service.


Facility Time data is data that you need to collect, report and publish under the Trade Union Facility Time Publication Requirements Regulations 2017.

As a public sector employer, you must report and publish information on facility time for your employees who are trade union representatives.

Facility time is when an employee takes time off from their normal role to carry out their duties and activities as a trade union representative.

View examples of trade union duties and activities

You need to report and publish this information once a year every year.

Check if you need to report trade union facility time data

You must report and publish facility time information if youre a public sector employer and had more than 49 full time equivalent employees during any seven months of the relevant period.

Public sector employers

Public sector employers include:

  • local authorities
  • National Health Service
  • maintained schools, academies or other educational institutions
  • police
  • UK government departments except the Secret Intelligence Service, the Security Service and the Government Communications Headquarters
  • Scottish Ministers

Refer to the list in Schedule 1 of the regulations for a full list of public sector employers who need to report this data.

Exceptions to the reporting requirement

You can choose whether to report the data if you had fewer than 49 full time equivalent employees during any seven months of the period between 1 April and 31 March each year.

You do not need to report the data if youre in Northern Ireland or youre a devolved Welsh authority.

You must report your data if you fit the above criteria, even if you do not have any trade union representatives or spend any money on Trade Union Facility Time. If that is the case, please use the reporting service anyway to submit a nil return, in compliance with statutory requirements.

How to report the data and when to report it by

By 31 July each year:

  • report the data on GOV.UK using its online trade union facility time reporting service
  • publish the data on your website the easiest way to do this is by publishing your answers from the online service
  • include the data in your annual report and accounts if you have one

If you choose to publish your own data on your website, youll also need to calculate and add the:

  • percentage of pay spent on facility time
  • percentage of total paid facility time spent on paid trade union activities

When reporting your data on GOV.UK using the online Trade Union Facility Time Reporting Service, the service will automatically calculate these figures for you.

Trade Union Facility Time Reporting Service

The 2023/24 reporting service is now open.

Click here to submit your organisations data.

Please any enquiries.

What you need to report

You need to collect and report facility time information to cover the period from 1 April to 31 March each year.

Data you need to collect

Keep a record of the:

  • total number of trade union representatives your organisation employed - include employees who were not representatives for the full 12 months
  • total full time equivalent number of representatives
  • total amount of time representatives spent on facility time
  • percentage of working hours each representative spent on facility time youll need to select from an option of 0%, 1 to 50%, 51 to 99%, or 100% when you report this on GOV.UK
  • total amount of time representatives spent on paid facility time paid union duties and activities
  • total amount of time representatives spent on paid union activities
  • total amount of time representatives spent on unpaid union activities
  • total pay bill for all employees not just union representatives
  • total cost of facility time

You may find it helpful to use a spreadsheet to collate the information.

Calculations you need to make

Full time equivalent number (FTE)

The individual full time equivalent number is an employees individual hours divided by the employers full time hours. For example, the FTE for a part time employee who works 18.5 hours a week based on a full time week of 37 hours is 0.5.

To get the total FTE number, add the number of full time employees who are representatives and the individual FTE for representatives who work part time.

Count the total number of hours representatives are employed, not just the hours they spend on facility time.

Full time equivalent number example

This is based on full time hours of 37 hours a week.

Data FTE
2 full time employees 2 FTE employees
1 part time (18.5 hours) 0.5 FTE employees
1 part time (25 hours) 0.7 FTE employees
Total FTE 3.2 FTE employees

Total pay bill

This is the total gross amount for all employees spent on wages plus the total pension contributions plus total National Insurance contributions.

Total cost of facility time

The individual cost of facility time is the hourly cost for each representative multiplied by the number of paid facility time hours.

The hourly cost is the gross amount spent on wages for each employee plus pension contributions plus National Insurance contributions divided by the number of working hours during the period.

To get the total cost of facility time, add together the facility time costs for each representative. For example, if a representatives hourly cost is 10 and they did 56 paid facility time hours then their individual facility time cost would be 560. If there is only one other representative and that persons facility time cost is 360 then the total facility time cost would be 920.

If youre a local authority

If youre a local authority, you need to report the data separately for trade union representatives in each of the following categories:

  • central function
  • education function
  • fire and rescue function

Facility time cost

You need to subtract from the total cost of facility time any money received from other parties.

Divide your total contribution by the total number of union representatives and multiply that result by the number of representatives in the function youre reporting on.



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Data Result
Function reporting on Education
Total number of trade union representatives 3
Number of representatives in the education function
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