In July ACAS published new guidance for overtime. It addresses the questions:

•        Is overtime compulsory or voluntary?

•        Is there a limit to how much overtime can be worked?

•        Pay when working overtime

•        Overtime for part time workers

•        Impact of overtime on holiday pay calculations

It’s a helpful document for anyone who has any doubts about the difference between voluntary overtime, compulsory guaranteed overtime, and compulsory non-guaranteed overtime. It also concisely summarises the Working Time Regulations.

But the guidance clouds the issue of holiday pay entitlement. Workers are entitled to four weeks paid holiday under the EU’s Working Time Directive. How is holiday pay calculated? Overtime payments are included. But what about non-standard overtime? The guidance states the only exception is overtime which is "genuinely occasional and infrequent." But what does this actually mean? ACAS says recent Court decisions are case specific and employers may want to seek legal advice. It can only be hoped that this area of the law is clarified soon.

All workers in the UK must receive an additional 1.6 weeks leave by law, and some receive more as part of their terms and conditions of employment. It's up to employers to decide whether to apply the rule about overtime and the calculation of holiday pay entitlement to these too. Some do, as it keeps things simple, and there's less opportunity for misunderstandings.

Find the guidance on the ACAS website, Advice and Guidance > Rights and Responsibilities > Working hours or

For help or advice on this or other employment law matter, please speak to Emma-Louise Hewitt on 0808 166 8827.

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