NHS case could affect all employers when factoring overtime into holiday pay

A court ruling in a dispute between ambulance workers and the NHS could affect employers across all sectors when it comes to factoring overtime into holiday pay.

The dispute centred on whether ambulance staff were entitled to have an average amount of their voluntary overtime pay included when calculating their holiday pay.

The Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of the NHS Trust, stating that only mandatory overtime should be included. This is defined as time worked when an emergency situation meant workers could not leave their post at the scheduled time.

However, voluntary overtime, such as extra or longer shifts being taken, was not included.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal overturned that decision and ordered that voluntary overtime should also be included in holiday pay.

The Court of Appeal upheld that decision.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, which supported the ambulance workers in their case, said: “Before this judgment, NHS workers who did regular overtime or often worked well beyond their shifts saw a drop in their pay whenever they took a well-deserved break. Leave calculations that weren’t based on the extra shifts and hours they did week in, week out meant many were considerably out of pocket.”

The ruling could have an impact on both the private and public sector in future disputes over calculating holiday pay.

Case details

East of England Ambulance NHS Trust and Neil Flowers and others
Court of Appeal May 2019
Lord Justice Bean
Lady Justice Asplin
Lady Justice Nicola Davies

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