Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

29th October 2015

Contracts and holiday pay

If a carer works regular hrs 35hrs one week and, of her own choice, works 45hrs the following week, over a 4 week pay period, what would her contract and holiday pay be based on? She is new and at present i can fulfill her hours but with a contract should it be the lower amount of hours per week, or would the calculations be based on an overall monthly total ?

Dear Jenny,

Thank you for your question. I've sought feedback on your question from our Employment Law experts. Oliver McCann of Napthens provided the following response:

The contract should be set at regular hours of 35 hours per week ie the minimum we expect the employee to perform.

The contract should however make it clear that the employee may be required to work additional hours should the needs of the business require it. It is up to the employer whether such additional hours attract over time rates.
In terms of pay, the employee should be paid for their hours of work performed in that pay period, applying overtime rates where applicable, unless the employee is salaried and is required to work such hours as the business may require.
In terms of holiday pay, recent case law has confirmed employees should get paid their normal pay for any holiday leave. As such, if an employee has irregular or fluctuating hours from one week to another, holiday pay should be calculated using the average hours per week/per day in the 12 weeks prior to taking annual leave.  If the “extra hours” are overtime, then recent case law suggests that over time should be included in the calculation of holiday pay where the over time is regular. So if the overtime is frequent, I would use the average pay over the 12 weeks prior to taking leave to calculate the rate of a days or weeks pay. If the overtime is very irregular, then you could treat it as voluntary over time and exclude from the calculation of holiday pay on the basis this is not part of their normal hours – though note, case law seems to be moving in the direction where even irregular voluntary overtime should be included in the calculation of holiday pay.

If you have any other questions, please do get in touch.

Best wishes.


*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

Please do get in touch with our team of specialists if you can’t see an answer to the question you may have and we will be happy to help.

Here at QCS we have an extensive panel of specialists with a wide range of knowledge and experience so don’t worry if you have a social care question you are struggling to find the answer to, our team are here to help.

    Join over 130,000 users already using the QCS Management System!
    Start Free Trial Buy Now
    Back to Top