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Staff Passes for 'Housekeepers'

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MichaelAMW

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Mod Note: Posts #1 - #15 originally in this thread.
I still feel the responsibility was with the spouse from what I know, however I can see why the company went after the employee when they discovered the other breaches of the terms and conditions regarding her eligibility to have the pass
Thinking back to what felt like a "so near, yet so far" experience many years ago, when my better half was entitled to travel passes, is this to do with the idea that a partner is only eligible if either you are married (or, I guess, now, in a Civil Partnership) or permanently living at the same address? In other words, a monogomous, non-married long-distance relationship doesn't count?
 
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Journeyman

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Thinking back to what felt like a "so near, yet so far" experience many years ago, when my better half was entitled to travel passes, is this to do with the idea that a partner is only eligible if either you are married (or, I guess, now, in a Civil Partnership) or permanently living at the same address? In other words, a monogomous, non-married long-distance relationship doesn't count?
When I first joined London Underground in 1999, you could only get passes for a spouse or common-law partner. Around the same time, a lesbian couple took SWT to court for discrimination, as the partner of the employee was refused a pass*. SWT lost the case. After that, TfL changed the policy so that all employees could get one pass for someone who lived at the same address, regardless of who they were. It was obviously a lot fairer, but did result in a jump in misuse, as short term housemates got hold of passes and kept them once they moved on.

* Possibly due to Brian Souter having known homophobic views, due to his membership of an evangelical church.
 
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Bald Rick

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Thinking back to what felt like a "so near, yet so far" experience many years ago, when my better half was entitled to travel passes, is this to do with the idea that a partner is only eligible if either you are married (or, I guess, now, in a Civil Partnership) or permanently living at the same address? In other words, a monogomous, non-married long-distance relationship doesn't count?

From my distant memory, staff travel passes for those in the ATOC scheme were for people married, civil partnershiped, or had been ‘together’ for 2 years or more. How you prove the last one was I guess a little interesting. Certainly I made a big show of presenting Mrs BR with her first class pass on her our wedding day.
 

najaB

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Certainly I made a big show of presenting Mrs BR with her first class pass on her our wedding day.
Nah, you were right the first time - the man gets married on the day the lady has her wedding...
 

WesternLancer

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When I first joined London Underground in 1999, you could only get passes for a spouse or common-law partner. Around the same time, a lesbian couple took SWT to court for discrimination, as the partner of the employee was refused a pass*. SWT lost the case. After that, TfL changed the policy so that all employees could get one pass for someone who lived at the same address, regardless of who they were. It was obviously a lot fairer, but did result in a jump in misuse, as short term housemates got hold of passes and kept them once they moved on.

* Possibly due to Brian Souter having known homophobic views, due to his membership of an evangelical church.
So in BR days would same sex co-habiting partners not have been entitled to one? (seems unlikely Mr Souter would have rolled back on it).
 

Journeyman

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So in BR days would same sex co-habiting partners not have been entitled to one? (seems unlikely Mr Souter would have rolled back on it).
No, I don't recall them being entitled to them, because I'm not sure there was any legal definition of a long-term same-sex relationship in those days. Before civil partnerships, gay partners weren't entitled to pensions etc. when someone died.
 

WesternLancer

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From my distant memory, staff travel passes for those in the ATOC scheme were for people married, civil partnershiped, or had been ‘together’ for 2 years or more. How you prove the last one was I guess a little interesting. Certainly I made a big show of presenting Mrs BR with her first class pass on her our wedding day.
I recall when I was issued with a pass by BR in c1986 reading the docs that came with it. I am sure I remember some archaic language in the doc like the ability for someone who was your 'housekeeper' to have a pass.
 

Journeyman

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I recall when I was issued with a pass by BR in c1986 reading the docs that came with it. I am sure I remember some archaic language in the doc like the ability for someone who was your 'housekeeper' to have a pass.
That terminology and entitlement was still around in 1994 when I joined, and I even had a colleague who had a housekeeper pass.
 

WesternLancer

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No, I don't recall them being entitled to them, because I'm not sure there was any legal definition of a long-term same-sex relationship in those days. Before civil partnerships, gay partners weren't entitled to pensions etc. when someone died.
Ah yes, good comparison point. But then see my post recalling the ability of a 'housekeeper' to have one, which I took to mean a woman you lodged with (presumably) and thus not married - so not in a legally governed type relationship.
 

Bald Rick

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I recall when I was issued with a pass by BR in c1986 reading the docs that came with it. I am sure I remember some archaic language in the doc like the ability for someone who was your 'housekeeper' to have a pass.

That still applies now!

Sorry for the long quote, direct from the RSTL travel website:

Section 7: HOUSEKEEPERS​

  1. A Housekeeper will not be eligible for rail staff travel facilities if the Employee is married or in a Civil Partnership or a similar relationship irrespective of whether the Spouse, Civil Partner or Partner is receiving rail staff travel facilities, unless the Employee's Spouse, Civil Partner is permanently incapacitated and unable to travel.
  2. A Housekeeper of an Employee may be eligible for rail staff travel facilities if they:
    1. are permanently resident with the Employee in the Employee's own property, and
    2. act as a bona-fide permanent resident housekeeper to the Employee, and
    3. do not act as a housekeeper for any other person, and
    4. are entirely dependent upon the Employee, provided that their gross unearned income does not exceed the current Housekeeper's income limit and they have no earned income, and
    5. are a close personal relative of the Employee, i.e. mother, father, sister, brother, son or daughter, and
    6. are not married or in a Civil Partnership or similar relationship, and
    7. do not own, part-own, rent (or jointly rent), lease (or jointly lease), or have any financial interest in the Employee's residence.
  3. The eligibility of rail staff travel facilities for a Housekeeper is entirely at the discretion of RST
  4. Rail staff travel facilities will only be issued to an eligible Housekeeper upon completion by the Employee of a Housekeeper Application Form, and by RST accepting, the Housekeeper Application Form, that is completed in accordance with the instructions issued by RST, and all evidentiary documentation supplied in support of the application.
  5. If any evidence supplied in support of the Housekeeper Application Form is not completed in English, then the Employee must supply an official or certified translation of the evidence at their own expense.
  6. The eligibility for rail staff travel facilities for a Housekeeper ceases when the Housekeeper:
    1. is no longer permanently resident with the Employee, or
    2. is no longer entirely dependent upon the Employee, or
    3. has a gross unearned income that exceeds the current Housekeeper's income limit, or
    4. has any earned income, or
    5. owns, part-owns, rents (or jointly rents), leases (or jointly leases), or has any financial interest in the Employee's residence.
  7. The eligibility for rail staff travel facilities for a Housekeeper ceases when the Employee:
    1. is married, or
    2. is in a Civil Partnership.
  8. If the Employee is deceased, then the Housekeeper may only continue to be eligible to receive rail staff travel facilities if they:
    1. do not act as a housekeeper for any other person, and
    2. have a gross unearned income does not exceed the current Housekeeper's income limit and they have no earned income, and
    3. do not own, part-own, rent (or jointly rent), lease (or jointly lease), or have any financial interest in the Employee's residence, and
    4. remain unmarried and not in a Civil Partnership or other similar relationship, and
    5. have been receiving rail staff travel facilities as a Housekeeper through the Employee's record, and
    6. are at least 50 years of age at the time of the Employee's death.

Ah yes, good comparison point. But then see my post recalling the ability of a 'housekeeper' to have one, which I took to mean a woman you lodged with (presumably) and thus not married - so not in a legally governed type relationship.

More about your own domestic employee, rather than a person you paid to rent a room off. Back in the day I suspect a few of the most senior officers had a Valet, Jeeves and Wooster style. Oh to be a railwayman back then.
 

WesternLancer

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That still applies now!

Sorry for the long quote:

Section 7: HOUSEKEEPERS​

  1. A Housekeeper will not be eligible for rail staff travel facilities if the Employee is married or in a Civil Partnership or a similar relationship irrespective of whether the Spouse, Civil Partner or Partner is receiving rail staff travel facilities, unless the Employee's Spouse, Civil Partner is permanently incapacitated and unable to travel.
  2. A Housekeeper of an Employee may be eligible for rail staff travel facilities if they:
    1. are permanently resident with the Employee in the Employee's own property, and
    2. act as a bona-fide permanent resident housekeeper to the Employee, and
    3. do not act as a housekeeper for any other person, and
    4. are entirely dependent upon the Employee, provided that their gross unearned income does not exceed the current Housekeeper's income limit and they have no earned income, and
    5. are a close personal relative of the Employee, i.e. mother, father, sister, brother, son or daughter, and
    6. are not married or in a Civil Partnership or similar relationship, and
    7. do not own, part-own, rent (or jointly rent), lease (or jointly lease), or have any financial interest in the Employee's residence.
  3. The eligibility of rail staff travel facilities for a Housekeeper is entirely at the discretion of RST
  4. Rail staff travel facilities will only be issued to an eligible Housekeeper upon completion by the Employee of a Housekeeper Application Form, and by RST accepting, the Housekeeper Application Form, that is completed in accordance with the instructions issued by RST, and all evidentiary documentation supplied in support of the application.
  5. If any evidence supplied in support of the Housekeeper Application Form is not completed in English, then the Employee must supply an official or certified translation of the evidence at their own expense.
  6. The eligibility for rail staff travel facilities for a Housekeeper ceases when the Housekeeper:
    1. is no longer permanently resident with the Employee, or
    2. is no longer entirely dependent upon the Employee, or
    3. has a gross unearned income that exceeds the current Housekeeper's income limit, or
    4. has any earned income, or
    5. owns, part-owns, rents (or jointly rents), leases (or jointly leases), or has any financial interest in the Employee's residence.
  7. The eligibility for rail staff travel facilities for a Housekeeper ceases when the Employee:
    1. is married, or
    2. is in a Civil Partnership.
  8. If the Employee is deceased, then the Housekeeper may only continue to be eligible to receive rail staff travel facilities if they:
    1. do not act as a housekeeper for any other person, and
    2. have a gross unearned income does not exceed the current Housekeeper's income limit and they have no earned income, and
    3. do not own, part-own, rent (or jointly rent), lease (or jointly lease), or have any financial interest in the Employee's residence, and
    4. remain unmarried and not in a Civil Partnership or other similar relationship, and
    5. have been receiving rail staff travel facilities as a Housekeeper through the Employee's record, and
    6. are at least 50 years of age at the time of the Employee's death.
Thanks! A fair few clauses there....
Mind you I guess a 'housekeeper' could be a carer of a retired staff member, (if the scheme permits retired staff to extend benefits to such a person at a time that may be some time after active employment has ceased)

I fear we are taking this thread off topic in the last few recent posts....
 

philthetube

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This is worth a thread of it's own, what I want to know is if there is still ha housekeepers earning limit, as in 2.4

  1. A Housekeeper of an Employee may be eligible for rail staff travel facilities if they:
    1. are permanently resident with the Employee in the Employee's own property, and
    2. act as a bona-fide permanent resident housekeeper to the Employee, and
    3. do not act as a housekeeper for any other person, and
    4. are entirely dependent upon the Employee, provided that their gross unearned income does not exceed the current Housekeeper's income limit and they have no earned income,

I probably was not clear on me earlier post, but I wonder what this is, and even if it still exists. Alos if it would even be legal with the minimum wage.
 
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CrispyUK

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This is worth a thread of it's own, what I want to know is if there is still ha housekeepers earning limit, as in 2.4

I probably was not clear on me earlier post, but I wonder what this is, and even if it still exists. Alos if it would even be legal with the minimum wage.
Minimum wage isn’t relevant as the limit is in reference to unearned income (such as interest on savings). To be eligible for travel facilities, the housekeeper cannot have any earned income (e.g. from employment).
 

philthetube

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I would have thought that they must be able to earn something or earnings limit would not have been used, just earning.
 

AndrewE

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That terminology and entitlement was still around in 1994 when I joined, and I even had a colleague who had a housekeeper pass.
One of my (single) colleagues had a housekeeper pass for his widowed mother, who he lived with.
 

Taunton

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Back in the day I suspect a few of the most senior officers had a Valet, Jeeves and Wooster style. Oh to be a railwayman back then.
Certainly the Chairman of the LNER (the old, real one) did. He was also into music and the LNER had a significant staff orchestra, which he insisted on periodically being the lively conductor of. Well-known railway writer Cecil J Allen, also an LNER employee, and also no mean pianist himself, apparently kept well clear of it all, and both he and separately Gerry Fiennes wrote that the principal characteristic of the orchestra was enthusiasm! Anyway, said chairman would work up a real sweat in the task, and had his valet standing by just off stage with copious quantities of towels to hand to him as things progressed.

Alright for some.
 

richw

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For first group it is a requirement to submit a council tax bill or utility bill showing joint liability.
it’s unlikely a housekeeper would be jointly named.
 

AndrewE

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That is interesting, I suspect for quite a few people.
It may be that because (before privatisation) it didn't cost anybody anything they were a bit more relaxed about such things back then.
"Duty" passes were "bought" by non-operating departments and I think were not abused - but maybe this is for the new "BR priv/ free pass reminiscence" thread.
 

thedbdiboy

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Mod Note: Posts #1 - #15 originally in this thread.

Thinking back to what felt like a "so near, yet so far" experience many years ago, when my better half was entitled to travel passes, is this to do with the idea that a partner is only eligible if either you are married (or, I guess, now, in a Civil Partnership) or permanently living at the same address? In other words, a monogomous, non-married long-distance relationship doesn't count?

That feels like such an oddly archaic document!
The issue arose because the 'safeguarded' (i.e. ex-BR) staff travel arrangements went back a very long way, to an era when the assumption and laws of the land assumed that a primary breadwinner was male and either had a lady wife to look after his needs, or if a 'bachelor' would likely have the services of a housekeeper. Same-sex relationships had no legal status whatsoever. These rights were included in the 1993 Railways Act for ex-BR staff on privatisation but RSTL had absolutely no authority to extend them and so, pathetic as it sounds, a court case was required to force a change. Mr Souter had no bearing on it.

Fast forward to 2021 and the current RSTL rules for Safeguarded staff are a curious mish-mash of these archaic practices modified in the light of the legal changes both to recognition of same-sex relationships and associated anti-discriminatory legislation.

Ideally of course there would be a much more sensible debate about what constitutes a sensible approach to allowing all railway staff (including Network Rail) a reasonable entitlement to staff travel incentives instead of the curious mish-mash of pre and post 1995 entitlements. But that requires some joined up industry leadership which is not going to happen until Williams is published. Given that very likely pay freeze or pay increase limitations within the industry for the next year or two, the time might be right for some sensible negotiations of what would be a cost-effective but nonetheless very welcome non-cash benefit to many rail staff.
 

Watershed

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Given that very likely pay freeze or pay increase limitations within the industry for the next year or two, the time might be right for some sensible negotiations of what would be a cost-effective but nonetheless very welcome non-cash benefit to many rail staff.
The thing is, it's not a cost-free benefit. The industry will lose some revenue if it gives more free travel (of whatever description) to staff.

That said, overall staff travel revenue probably only makes up a tiny percentage of all revenue, and so it's still likely to be a cheaper than the customary annual pay rise.

I suspect it's an issue more relevant to future years than this year!
 

thedbdiboy

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The thing is, it's not a cost-free benefit. The industry will lose some revenue if it gives more free travel (of whatever description) to staff.

That said, overall staff travel revenue probably only makes up a tiny percentage of all revenue, and so it's still likely to be a cheaper than the customary annual pay rise.

I suspect it's an issue more relevant to future years than this year!
But that's not true if it is approached in the right way. As you say yourself, it is cheaper than a wage rise - yes, there is an overt loss of some potential revenue, but of course without the incentive quite a bit of that revenue will not happen. And as a Benefit in Kind it makes recruitment easier, with the ability to attract staff who might otherwise choose another employer. To put it bluntly, when I joined BR in 1987, if you could only get work as a toilet cleaner, BR would win over the local council because you got 6 free passes a year to use for your team's away matches.
Then there are the hidden benefits. Take, for example, smart ticketing. When the DfT started trying to push this in franchises, it was arranged so that ticket offices couldn't issue or help with the process. So staff had no interest in promoting the schemes and when there was a problem, they would tell passengers not to bother with smart tickets. TfL, on the other hand, gave their staff Oyster passes ahead of their sale to customers to both test the system and get them familiar with the process. So when it was rolled out, they were familiar with how it worked and helped smooth the introduction.
A 'Smart' staff travel offer could both be much better targeted and help staff promote rail. That's the problem with bean counters - they miss half the beans...
 

AndrewE

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It may be (a lot) cheaper than a wage-rise, but the employer benefits directly too. Staff who use the services, who get familiar with how easy it is to change at different places on the network, even who learn the stress a late-running train imposes on the traveller if their connection is the last train on their line home are going to be far better at advising or looking after the public than an employee with no concessions who feels that they are too poor to be able to afford train fares.

It was taken to pretty broad lengths: in the 1970s and early '80s we were lent the office all-line duty passes over the weekend just so that we coud ride out, learn the network thoroughly and see how our train service alterations around engineering ops turned out!
 

Alex27

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I personally would love a 'nominee' style system a bit like tfl, as I am still young, live with my parents and have no partner to speak of let alone kids! So it would be nice for my parents (or at least one of) to make use of the benefits. Probably unlikely to happen - but it does irritate me a bit that 'housekeepers' can have staff benefits but not my family.
 

infobleep

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But that's not true if it is approached in the right way. As you say yourself, it is cheaper than a wage rise - yes, there is an overt loss of some potential revenue, but of course without the incentive quite a bit of that revenue will not happen. And as a Benefit in Kind it makes recruitment easier, with the ability to attract staff who might otherwise choose another employer. To put it bluntly, when I joined BR in 1987, if you could only get work as a toilet cleaner, BR would win over the local council because you got 6 free passes a year to use for your team's away matches.
Then there are the hidden benefits. Take, for example, smart ticketing. When the DfT started trying to push this in franchises, it was arranged so that ticket offices couldn't issue or help with the process. So staff had no interest in promoting the schemes and when there was a problem, they would tell passengers not to bother with smart tickets. TfL, on the other hand, gave their staff Oyster passes ahead of their sale to customers to both test the system and get them familiar with the process. So when it was rolled out, they were familiar with how it worked and helped smooth the introduction.
A 'Smart' staff travel offer could both be much better targeted and help staff promote rail. That's the problem with bean counters - they miss half the beans...
That reminds me of buying season tickets online. South West Trains would promote the benefits but when your season stopped working, as paper ones do, it wouldn't be on the database ticket office staff use, which caused staff more hassle.

Back to Housekeepers. I am currently reading a 1925 ticketing manual for London, Midland and Scottish Railway company servants. It will be interesting to see if Housekeepers get mentioned.

Does anyone know when such travel passes came into being?
 
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