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NHS staff to receive one-off sum to correct holiday pay ‘error’

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NHS employees in England whose regular overtime has not been reflected in their holiday pay will receive two year’s back payment to correct this ‘historical error’.

Eligible staff on Agenda for Change contracts will receive a one-off sum, amounting to 16% of any overtime pay received in 2019-20 and 2020-21, after Unison and GMB unions struck a deal with employers.

Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: ‘This corrects an historical error that miscalculated the level of holiday pay for staff who worked regular overtime.’

The payment comes after the Court of Appeal ruled in June 2019 that employers must consider any regularly worked overtime into holiday pay calculations.

NHS terms and conditions state holiday pay should be based on what an individual would normally receive had they been at work.

But Unison said before the court ruling NHS workers, who often did over time, would see a drop in their salaries when they took leave because their holiday pay was based solely on their contracted hours – not the extra shifts.

Agenda for Pay staff are paid time and a half for overtime, and double pay for working public holidays.

Although, the deal between the NHS employers and unions acknowledges there have been inconsistencies among employers about including regular overtime in these calculations.

Staff will receive the payment by the end of September this year.

Eligible staff must have been employed by an NHS employer on 31 March 2021 and have received overtime payments in a minimum of four months out of 12 months in 2019-20 or 2020/21.

Negotiations continue about how the changes will be applied from 2021-22.  

Last week, the UK Government came under more pressure to give NHS staff a substantial pay boost after Scotland revealed it has offered its NHS staff a pay rise of at least 4%.

Westminster has proposed a 1% increase for NHS staff in England earlier this month. The NHS Pay Review Body is still to make its own recommendations before ministers take their final decision on Agenda for Change wage rises.

What you need to know

Am I likely to get any holiday pay back?

You must be employed by the NHS in England as of 31 March 2021 and have received overtime payments in at least four months in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 financial years.

What counts as overtime for the purposes of the payment?

Any paid time above your contractual hours, for example working past the end of your shift, or volunteering for additional shifts agreed in advance as overtime. It does not include working additional hours on an NHS bank shift.

How much would I receive?

16% of the overtime pay received in any of the 2019-20 or 2020-21 financial years.

How do I find out if I am eligible?

Your employer will notify you.

Source: Unison