Introduction to this document

Deputising letter

Where you ask an employee to act as a deputy supervisor or manager on a temporary basis to cover their supervisor’s or manager’s absence, use our letter to confirm the agreed terms of the deputising arrangement.

Temporary promotion

When a supervisor or manager is absent due to maternity or other family-related leave, long-term sickness absence, a sabbatical, etc., it’s relatively common for another, often more junior, employee to be asked to “act up” and temporarily cover the more senior role during the supervisor’s or manager’s absence. From the employee’s perspective, acting up gives them the opportunity to improve their management skills. For your part, you would generally temporarily increase their salary to cover the additional duties and responsibilities associated with the more senior role.

Letter contents

Make sure first that you have the employee’s agreement in principle to the deputising arrangement before you issue our Deputising Letter - you can’t force them into it. It’s also important to ensure that any deputising agreement isn’t open ended and that you clearly set out in writing it’s a temporary arrangement to provide absence cover. Our letter covers the following key points:

  • what role the deputising arrangement applies to and what additional duties and responsibilities the employee will be expected to undertake
  • what the increased salary will be for the period of the deputising arrangement
  • when the deputising arrangement will start and when it’s likely to end – and that, in any event, you’ll give one week’s notice to the employee that they’re to revert to their permanent job role
  • confirmation that the arrangement can also be terminated early by either party giving one week’s written notice, e.g. if the employee’s performance or conduct in the new role isn’t up to scratch or they change their mind
  • clarification that all other terms and conditions of employment remain unchanged during the period of the deputising arrangement.

Our letter then asks the employee to sign an acceptance slip to confirm their agreement to the terms of the deputising arrangement.


In deciding what level of salary to set for the deputising arrangement, consider factors such as the employee’s level of experience, the seniority of the role being covered, the amount of extra work involved and the duration of the deputising period. It doesn’t automatically follow that they will receive the same salary as the person whose role they’re temporarily filling, e.g. if they’re not taking on all that role’s duties and responsibilities (some of these are likely to be preserved for other members of the management team rather than delegated to them), or if the absent person was much more senior in terms of skills, knowledge and experience.