Should my acting up pay be maintained after several years in the job?

I have been acting into a higher role for almost five years. The higher role was advertised internally and appointed via an interview panel. I jobshared the role for the first months and have carried the role on my own ever since. The role was initially advertised for a period of six months. I do have a substantive role to return to. Do I have rights in terms of custom and practice to say that the acting role now constitutes my pay and conditions?

Wooden blocks which depict law including scales, books and gavel


As I understand it, you wish to confirm whether, through custom and practice, you have effectively varied your contract so that the higher role is now in fact your permanent job with the associated acting up pay and conditions.

Such situations are always very fact dependent, but it certainly sounds from your summary of events that you have good grounds to make this argument, particularly given the fact that you have been doing the role continuously for the last five years and, as you state, the initial six months have long since passed.

I note that your employer has not told you, whether formally or informally, that the contract is being extended and has accepted that you are performing this work and have done so for the last five years. However, there are other factors which could affect this assessment and which you would need to consider. For example, if there have been oral or written reminders or statements that you are “acting up”, that the role is “temporary” or if your previous role has been kept open for you on the expectation that you will be returning to it.

Consider also how you are represented in the organisation more generally. If you are represented in the organisational chart or emails as the interim or temporary job holder, this could indicate that this remains a temporary arrangement rather than a binding variation of your contract.

*Maria Hoeritzauer is a Partner at Crossland Employment Solicitors in Abingdon. 

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