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What can I do about finding out the arrangements to be used when I cover the work of a more senior person?
If you are asked to stand in for a senior colleague, it would be usual for your employer to pay you the appropriate rate for that grade.
Much depends on the terms of your contract of employment and the organisation's rules for temporary substitution. For example, some employers will not pay for short-term substitution, say for a week or less, unless it is part of a continuing pattern.
The rules covering such arrangements, which will vary in different organisations, should be available in an accessible place for you to read.
Sometimes they will be covered by a collective agreement negotiated by your union.
You may in some circumstances refuse to accept temporary promotion. Consider whether there are safety grounds for refusing – for example, you may need to ask for extra training to be able to carry out the more senior role.
You should check whether your contract of employment appears to require you to undertake these extra duties. Some contracts include a catch-all clause stating something along the lines of: "the employee agrees to temporarily undertake such other reasonable duties as the employer may from time to time request."
However, such a clause is not necessarily effective in all situations.