Labour Research September 2017

Law Matters

Success on voluntary overtime

Unite general union has secured a landmark legal victory, establishing that voluntary overtime should be included in employer calculations of holiday pay entitlement. 

Unite supported 56 members employed by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council in their employment tribunal claims for unlawful deduction from wages based on failure to pay full holiday pay entitlement. 

The workers carried out regular and entirely voluntary overtime for the council, also choosing to be on a standby rota every month to address emergency call-outs and repairs. For some workers, the overtime payments amounted to as much as £6,000 a year and yet were not factored into holiday pay.

The tribunal found that the voluntary overtime payments were regular enough to constitute “normal pay” and should have been taken into account. The council appealed the finding. 

The Employment Appeal Tribunal confirmed that payments for voluntary duties, for example, voluntary overtime, standby, call-out work and travel-time linked to that work, should all be included when calculating workers’ holiday pay where such payments are made regularly.

Unite assistant general secretary for legal services Howard Beckett urged employers “who have been fleecing workers of their holiday pay to get their house in order or face legal action” and confirmed that Unite legal services “will leave no stone unturned in ensuring our members are not short-changed”.