When it comes to calculating holiday pay for your staff, you can find yourself easily confused. Over the decades, more and more legislation and legal precedent has meant that in 2017, it’s harder than ever to get to grips with holiday pay.
From the distinction between guaranteed and non-guaranteed overtime to working patterns and countless other variables, there’s plenty to keep in mind. However, if you’re employing ambulance workers’, a new rule has just come in to law which adds yet another wrinkle.
Flowers and others v East of England Ambulance Trust
An employment tribunal has held that ambulance workers’ compulsory overtime, in respect of “shift overruns”, should be included in the calculation of their holiday pay. In Flowers and others v East of England Ambulance Trust, the employment tribunal held that ambulance workers’ claim that non-guaranteed overtime in respect of “shift overruns” should be included in the calculation of their holiday pay.
The case was brought by workers at the East of England Ambulance Trust who claimed that the trust was making unlawful deductions from wages claims, in relation to how the trust calculates holiday pay.
Staff claimed that their annual paid leave should’ve included overtime that is required when their shift overruns and voluntary overtime that staff could choose to do if it was offered to them.
The tribunal recognised that because of the nature of ambulance driving, it simply wouldn’t be possible or ethical for staff to leave their shift in the middle of an emergency call. As such, they concluded that these non-guaranteed overtime hours should be counted in staff holiday pay.
The tribunal also found that there was no obligation for staff to perform voluntary overtime.
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 [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 staff at the Trust are said to be disappointed by the decision regarding their voluntary overtime, but the tribunal said that there was no evidence of a pattern of voluntary overtime obligation, with staff able to turn down the overtime.
Ambulance staff are often shift workers, taking turns on duty. For shift workers, holiday pay is usually calculated by working out the average number of hours worked in the previous 12 weeks at their average hourly rate. However, if they have no normal working hours and rely on call-outs, the week’s pay is typically calculated by working out the average pay over the last 12 weeks in which they were working for the Trust.
Our workforce management software allows you to easily handle one of the most important, yet challenging aspects for many organisations – managing shifts and getting staff to the right places at the right time, whilst tracking their hours with total accuracy.