Should ambulance workers’ holiday pay include compulsory overtime for shift overruns?

Should ambulance workers’ holiday pay include compulsory overtime for shift overruns?

Yes, ruled an employment tribunal in Flowers and others v East of England Ambulance Trust.

The background

Ambulance workers at the East of England Ambulance Trust claimed their employer had unlawfully deducted overtime from their wages when calculating holiday pay.

They argued their paid annual leave should have included compulsory overtime when a shift overruns (e.g. if an emergency happens at the end of a shift).

And that voluntary, pre-planned overtime should also be considered when calculating holiday pay.

The decision

The employment tribunal held the Trust has to include compulsory overtime as a result of overrun shifts as part of holiday pay under the Working Time Regulations (WTR).

As for voluntary overtime, the tribunal ruled it should not be taken into account in determining the claimant’s holiday pay.

The tribunal said:

“The respondent accepts that the ‘shift overrun’ non-guaranteed overtime should be taken into account in determining statutory holiday pay under the WTR […] and, if necessary, it is possible to construe the WTR to mean that such payments should be taken into account.

“There has therefore been unauthorised deductions from the wages of those claimants who, in the three months prior to any period of leave, undertook such non-guaranteed overtime.

“The voluntary overtime however, the tribunal is satisfied is of a different category. This is by its very nature voluntary. […] It is not part of pay for the purposes of calculating the claimants’ annual leave.”

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