Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner has defended his $1000 a week pay rise whenever he takes the reins of NSW, saying it's standard practice.

It emerged last week Mr Stoner would receive the raise in recognition of the higher duties he assumes when Premier Barry O'Farrell is away.

In question time on Tuesday, the opposition questioned why he should get a pay increase when the government is also cutting staff budgets in hospitals.

"It brings NSW into line with the Commonwealth and recognises the additional responsibilities involved when acting as premier," Mr Stoner replied.

"In fact, I didn't hear word one out of those opposite when the same arrangements applied for (deputy prime minister) Wayne Swan.

"If you want to come into this place and argue that ... people performing duties of higher responsibilities ought not to get remunerated at the appropriate rate, then I think you ought to go back and talk to your union mates because it's in every award in this state."

Mr O'Farrell last week stood by his decision to support the arrangement.