Should we get extra pay for covering each other’s holidays?

I share a full-time post with a colleague (but not a job share) which is two part-time posts and we have been doing this for over 10 years. I am obliged to cover her time off (holidays/sickness etc) as stated in my contract and she has to do the same for me. We only get basic time paid for the hours we cover and nothing else. Before last year we did not get any holiday pay for the extra hours worked after we pushed for it. This has been backdated, but only to 2015. Is there a ruling which apply to situations like this and should we be getting paid more ?

Annual Leave


I understand that you share a full-time post with a colleague. You are obliged to cover your colleague’s time off and this is confirmed in your contract. Your colleague is obliged to do the same for you. I understand that you only get basic time paid for the hours you cover. You have asked whether you should be paid more.

Your rate of pay for the hours you work is a matter of contractual agreement between your employer and you. I note that no overtime/increments have ever been discussed and that you do not receive time off in lieu. It appears that your hours covering your colleague’s absences are part of your contractual hours. You are contractually required to work them. The rate that you receive in pay for these hours depends entirely on your contract. If no increments etc. have been agreed, the rate you are entitled to is your usual rate of pay for the hours that you work under your contract of employment.

I also note your point on holiday pay. This should be calculated in accordance with the legal rules on a “week’s pay”. The additional hours you mention are a contractual requirement/entitlement and therefore should be taken into consideration in calculating a “week’s pay”. In order to claim back pay for holidays, workers can bring claims under the deduction from wages provisions of ERA 1996 in respect of unpaid statutory holiday pay. This legislation permits deduction from wages claims to be brought within three months of the last in a series of deductions, meaning that underpayments of holiday pay going back several years might in theory be recovered in a single claim. At present, workers can only claim back payments in respect of two years’ holiday pay.

The rules on holiday pay and recovery of the same are complex and subject to change. It is important to note that if your employer starts to pay statutory holiday pay at the correct rates, this will extinguish any historical claims once a period of three months has elapsed.  I would therefore highly recommend that you take specific legal advice on this as soon as possible.

*Helen Frankland assisted in answering this question.

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