Working for an MP in the House of Commons can be a very rewarding career opportunity. Staff can work in a paid capacity, as an intern, or as a volunteer
Members of Parliament are individual employers who staff their offices much as any small business does. There is no single model for organizing an MP’s office or offices.
Members of Parliament employ their staff directly on agreed pay scales that are set by IPSA. Practice varies widely among MPs on whether they employ their staff full-time or part-time, and whether their staff are based at Westminster or in the constituency. Some MPs have no office at Westminster, and some have no constituency office.
You will often find caseworkers and other employees in the constituency office responsible for local events or local media. In the Westminster office, you are more likely to find staff directly involved in assisting the MP with parliamentary work.
Types of role
There are four categories of paid roles under the IPSA flexible job description scheme: Administration, Executive, Research and Administration/Research. Details on the responsibilities for each of the roles, plus the responsibilities for an employed intern, can be found on IPSA’s website.
Working for more than one MP
It is not unusual for individuals to work part-time for two or more Members of Parliament. Each of those jobs would be a separate employment and you would need a separate employment contract for each one. When you are employed by more than one employer, your total hours worked per week should not exceed 48 hours in order to be in compliance with the Working Time Directive.
Volunteers and unpaid interns
Members of Parliament may take on volunteers and unpaid interns. If you are a volunteer or unpaid intern, then you will not receive a salary or a job description. If the Member of Parliament wishes to pay you travel and/or meal expenses, then a written agreement to pay those expenses in accordance with the IPSA model must be completed and signed.
The Speaker's Parliamentary Placement Scheme also offers ten paid internships to individuals from diverse backgrounds.
Paid staff are entitled to a 10% non-contributory pension.