What is "Time in lieu"?
Time in lieu is paid time off an employee gets for having worked additional hours, on top of their weekly contracted hours. The employee would get time off work instead of being paid overtime, as the word suggests, "lieu" means "instead".
Time-off in lieu (sometimes refereed to as TOIL) is common in companies where employees might be required to work weekends as well as weekdays or where the nature of the job is high-stress, so actually employees benefit more from an extra day off, rather than being paid overtime.
How do I offer time in lieu to my employees?
If you would like to offer time in lieu to your employees, you should look at it on an individual level and circumstances. Time in lieu is not enforced therefore it's best to check with each employee and team to make sure it's the correct direction to go. There might be employees that would prefer being paid over getting the extra days off.
How much days in lieu can an employee have?
The amount of lieu time given to an employee depends on the how many hours over the employees contracted hours they worked. So for example if an employee works 8 hours a day, 5 days a week which equates to 40 hours weekly. And the employee worked 44 hours during a particular week, they would be entitled to 4 hours which is half a day in lieu.
Time off in lieu is also part of the EU Working Time Directive, which states that no employee can be made to work more than 48 hours per week (inclusive of overtime) without prior written consent. This therefore limits the amount of extra hours an employee can work.
When can employees take their lieu days?
The terms of when employees can use time off in lieu are agreed between the employer and employee beforehand
As an employer, you can decide when a day in lieu is taken by an employee. Most companies have busy periods and quiet periods, and generally the employees tend to take these accumulated time in lieu days during "downtime" periods or when it's less busy.
You can easily identify periods of least disruption for the business by monitoring holidays and headcount, so employees can continue to accumulate days in lieu and then they can be taken during these periods (sometimes referred to as "banked time").
It is advised that employers are fair with employees when a day off in lieu is taken, for example starting a bit later on a Monday or leaving a little earlier on a Friday, or maybe even adding time in lieu to an existing holiday.
Things to be careful of
It is generally good practice to give days in lieu for times when it's really needed and not give out time in lieu for every occasion that arises. You do not want employees to accumulate a huge amount of time off work, or overtime pay every month. Keep in mind that working long hours without little downtime will lower morale and lead to a higher staff turnover, so it should be used wisely.
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