Ambulance staff win dispute over holiday pay and overtime

Overtime worked by ambulance staff during an emergency or when they can’t avoid it the end of a shift should be included in their holiday pay calculation.

However, voluntary overtime agreed in advance doesn’t have to be included.

That was the decision of the Employment Tribunal in case involving East of England Ambulance Trust.

Staff brought claims that the trust had made unlawful deductions when calculating their holiday pay. They argued that holiday pay should include overtime that is needed if staff are obliged to continue working after their shift ends because of an emergency or because they are in the middle of a call.

They also said that voluntary overtime involving extra shifts or hours arranged in advance should also be included. 

The tribunal found in favour of the ambulance staff in relation to the unavoidable overtime but rejected their claim that voluntary overtime should be included.

Giving its judgment, the tribunal said: “The respondent (the Trust) accepts that the ‘shift overrun’ non-guaranteed overtime should be taken into account in determining statutory holiday pay under the WTR [Working Time Regulations] or WTD [Working Time Directive] 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 tribunal said it rejected the claim relating to voluntary overtime because, among other things, there was no obligation placed on staff to accept it.


Please contact Paul Stevens  on 020 8290 7422 or email if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.


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