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Time Off in Lieu When Working Additional Hours

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 2 Apr 2021 | comments*Discuss
Employee Employer Working Company

Taking time off if you have worked overtime or additional hours is a common practice and is often referred to as ‘TOIL’ – time off in lieu.

TOIL is especially common in highly paid roles where the employee in question is often likely to appreciate the time off rather than additional money. However, regardless of the position or seniority of the employee, TOIL must be agreed in writing by the employee and the employer. It cannot be assumed or enforced by either side, which is important to note if you are being expected to work overtime and are being given TOIL or money when you would prefer the opposite.

EU Working Time Directive

It is worth noting that there is actually no legal right to be paid for extra hours worked, with no minimum overtime entitlement, although payment must not be less than the Minimum Wage. TOIL is part of the EU Working Time Directive, of which a central theme is that no employee can be made to work more than 48 hours a week without prior written agreement.

If there is such prior written agreement, signed by both the employee and the employer, the method of either payment or TOIL can be agreed between both parties. Many companies will have their own rules, which must be set out in the employers' handbook or be available from your HR department. For specific TOIL rules, companies will either have a set company stance (this need not be the same for everyone, although should be for people on the same grade/level/job title etc) or confirm it on a case-by-case basis.

Contract Clauses

To avoid workers simply taking loads of time to do something that they should be able to do comfortably within their working week, or to avoid workers having weeks of extra holiday available (which can cause staffing issues and/or operational issues) the written agreements usually included clauses.

Such clauses are usually related to how many additional days can be accrued and when these additional days must be taken by, such as ‘no more than three days can be rolled-over into the following year’ or ‘no more than one day each month can be accrued through TOIL’. Again, these clauses must be open and approved by both parties.

Time off in lieu of working additional hours is both a popular and common way to reward extra hours, although companies tend to prefer this when there is someone else to cover your work while you are taking your time off, or if the time can be taken at a reasonable time that will not affect the business, such as between Christmas and New Year.

Check Your Contract

As the employee, it is important that you make yourself aware of your Employment Contract. As the employer, you must ensure you are clear about what you are offering to workers that work more than their agreed hours. It is terribly frustrating to think that you will get more in your pay packet after a bumper month's work only to be given extra holiday that you don’t really want, or to be thinking that you’ll be able to take an extended holiday from all the TOIL accrued to be told that you have lost your entitlement because you did not take it in time. Check your employment contract and clarify it with HR.

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[Add a Comment]
My former employer is refusing to pay my TOIL. Even went so far as claim that he lost some of his time owed when I accepted a new job so why should I get paid it?
Kev - 9-Apr-20 @ 7:40 AM
My company want all production staff to take the month of April 2020 18 working days as Banked hours . Is this Legal due to the excessive 135 hours to be owed
Del - 21-Feb-20 @ 7:34 PM
Hi, my husband’s hours are officially 9- 5but they have flexi time so he does 8 - 4due to traffic.He was doing 7 - 8 but as his employers will only allow anyhours in lieu taken in an emergency he will not do extra hours which he is now frowned upon. There is no incentive for him toaccrue time in lieu. If he was to accrue an hour a dayfor the month and not need and time off then his company are laughing big time while the staff who who object to being used in this capacity aretold that there are times that they will need to stay later.My husband has no problem with that so long as he is rewarded. Are his company allowedto get away with this
Debski 66 - 16-Jan-20 @ 11:04 AM
My employer is stating that if I work 12hrs in lieu I will only get 7.25hrs. Is this right?
Cantoris - 11-Oct-19 @ 7:01 PM
My boss gave me a one day TOIL leave, because last Sunday,he needed all of us to work. So this week, i applied for it on 5th September...but then he didn't approve my leave in the system. Can i still have that day off? Will i get sued?
Ee - 2-Sep-19 @ 1:15 PM
I have worked for this catering company and they have just taken over the contact for 3 years. My manager told me to take my banked hours in Easter. To date by banked hours are 80. Could not take time off due to shortage with staff and my assistant leaving. Now they won’t give me my leave. I have not taken leave since October 2018. What can I do?
Angela Riley - 24-Aug-19 @ 6:34 PM
I he been working in a GP practice for over 24 years.Over the years I have a20 days holiday and 190 additional hours owing.These hours have been built up by covering various members of staff including management.Although I try to take time back it is always building up, I work more additional than actually take.A manager had been in situ for 42 years, in the past 6 years there have been 3 managers and the 3rd manager is working his notice.I have been very liberal in adding my time up not taking into account the odd 10 or 15 minutes.Due to the stress I am under and the unsafe practice I have whistle blown.I have been advised by my GP and a senior in our local CCG that I may wish to consider a change of job. Can I claim back the hours owed in1.money or if I hand in my notice can Itake toil a part of my notice period. All managers are away of my accured time and have seen my excel record sheet - no one has actually discussed this with me. The previous partners were aware of my time accuring,but again this was never discussed in full.
Nanny Ma - 25-Jul-19 @ 2:56 AM
Hi there I have been asked to write a new policy regarding virtual workers and how this is managed. Each person gets a company credit card so can claim expenses back for travelling, accommodation, food etc but what should the basic rules be on how this is managed? For example if someone works or travels beyond their working hours during the week from a temporary place of work (if the company has different office locations) how can they be compensated if the company doesn't offer time off in lieu or overtime? and what should the cap on the amount of hours this applies to outside of the working hours? Some workers don't have set days for when they are travelling and meetings can be unpredictable so how could you produce basic rules for them? I know if they are travelling at weekends this can be claimed back as this is classed as personal/private time. Any advice would be appreciated, thank you.
LouiseS - 5-Jul-19 @ 12:15 PM
I too work for a private hospital. My shifts have started to be cancelled by the hospital, asking me if I will take TOIL. This is reverse toil, where instead of working excessive hours and being given a day off in return, you are asked not to come in and then owe them that time back. I’ve noticed some people accrue up to 40 hours of TOIL, which is awful. You can’t choose when to pay it back, so at any given time at their discretion, your working week will suddenly become very difficult with extra shifts. I already work full time, days and night shifts, and had an episode a couple of weeks ago where I fainted at work. So there will be future weeks with extra shifts on top of my full time work- something which now worries me. I get paid minimum wage, so the time off is far more precious to me than the money- I would rather not be paid for these hours. Where do I stand legally with this? And where does the hospital stand legally asking people to not work, but then adding extra hours to future, already full time, 42 hr working weeks? Exhausting. I saw sean’s post above about his sister- this is dreadful. I don’t want this to happen to me- i’d rather not get paid. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance!
Nat - 22-Mar-19 @ 6:14 AM
I have 6 hours toil which I I was hoping to take in September. I work only 3hrs at school opening and closing and doing bits and pieces. The school said they will give me the dates I can use my toil is this right.
Foxy - 20-Mar-19 @ 9:42 AM
on average i work a 60-80 hour week, but i am on salary, my lieu hours have mounted up to over 500 hours, but i have been unable to use any due to staff shortage. the company has now said my hours worked are to suit the needs of the business and i will only get lieu hours for working an extra day to cover other staff and no lieu hours for working extra hours during a shift and my 500 plus hours i had have been wiped and i'm back to zero lieu hours owed.
malfie - 19-Feb-19 @ 12:31 PM
My sister works for a private hospital. She has been there 11 years and handed her notice in last week. she works 30 hrs per week and many times her shift was cancelled by the hospital meaning she owed them the hours in toil. this has happened many times and she has had a letter from HR saying that they have calculated that she owes 91 hours. she has 21 hour holiday meaning 70 hour owed in toil which they will take off her final salary pay slip. Is this right or is there a limit how much they can take if any? She didn't cancel her shift they did.Any help would be gratefully received.
Sean - 28-Sep-18 @ 5:38 PM
My employer has enforced a rule of no more than 46 hours TOIL to be accrued, you must then book time off and are then able to begin accruing again. Now they have allowed us to book forward leave as far as 2020 and as a result of this we have booked future shifts to negate the deficit. They are now trying to count these future payback shifts as toil even though we haven’t yet worked them. This has resulted in us having 100’s of supposed toil hours and they have said we arent allowed to accrue anymore end of shift toil and payment in overtime has been enforced. Is this allowed? It’s worth adding that the employer is an emergency service.
Liv - 15-Sep-18 @ 5:00 PM
Hi, when I do overtime and I ask for pay i get time and a half or duble but when I ask for TOIL I only get single time. Is that fair practice?
BrodeRwynn - 18-Aug-18 @ 3:16 PM
I have been paid lieu days for my sickness while I was working from home due to been sick.there was no agreement on this. Can my employer do this? Many thanks
Rob - 9-Aug-18 @ 4:22 PM
Hi just wondering where I stand I have worked overtime and have 25 hours this was put done as time in lieu I know that the policy of the company is taken within two months but what with a number of staff either on sick or holidays plus loosing two members of the team I could not take this time back as would leave the buisiness even more stretched . I have since been told that they will only honour half or one day in lieu and that I will have to loose the rest surely they can't do this if I hadn't covered things would have been even more stretched hope you can clear this up for me .
Meg - 6-May-18 @ 5:39 PM
i have at 23 members of staff that i am responsible for we have a uni rep but i find it hard to believe a lot of what he says more than once i check up on it and found it to be in correctbut the is no a problem happening with the lieu days that are given of for working bank holidayshe has been telling every on they can take them when every they want and can not be refused them so the staff are turning up the day before and demanding a day off witch is coursing a nightmare . all holiday is book off were possible two week in advanceand can only be granted if there is space for the to have it this clued lieu day any help word be great
fattymanrun - 20-Jan-18 @ 9:49 AM
My sis works in retail,her store is gapped 3 positions and the manager leans on her and her colleague to do additional hours to cover the gaps offering TOIL for the extra hours. However then won't allow her and her colleague to take the TOIL because of the lack of staff. I'm concerned she's being discriminated against with the threat of job loss for not covering those additional hours. She is completing 47 hours per week just under the 48 max so I feel she should be remunerated instead of the unhonoured TOIL. Grateful for advice to assist her?
Bunty26 - 15-Jan-18 @ 12:43 AM
TOIL. How does it work with overtime pay rates Should it be worked out from the difference in pay from basic rate to overtime rate so if you do 8 hours on a Saturday and Sunday should it be worked out by what you paid for that day so Sunday would be worth 1½ leave ?
Marky - 9-Jan-18 @ 5:28 PM
I don't work Mondays but have compulsory training coming up and it's on a Monday.Can I have time off in luie?
Momday - 23-Dec-17 @ 5:49 PM
My employer has made an amendment to all our staff handbooks stating that working hours are 9-5:30 and no time in lieu or money will be given to work or travel time that occurs outside of those hours. I am in a department where quite often we travel for meeting and events, often working until 7pm and not getting home until 11pm if events are in London (which most are). We are also expected to work during travel time I.E writing reports on said meeting and events. Do I have any rights to appeal this as amendments? I feel this change means I'm suddenly working for a lot less.
Em - 23-Oct-17 @ 11:11 PM
My daughter has chronic health condition and is yo get a general anaesthetic and I will need to take her to hospital 25 miles away and collect her and stay with her for 24 hours post op.I have told my employer this but don't have a date yet but it should be within next month and I have kept some annual leave for this. She says we are too short staffed. No way am I going yo cancel her appointment because of that.quite showing really as I am a staff nurse in theatre go same trust! Do you know what my rights are please?
Suz - 17-Oct-17 @ 8:59 PM
@ClaireTA - your employer has no right to reduce your TOIL hours because you have been off sick.
FeeR - 16-Oct-17 @ 12:42 PM
Hi,I was owed hours in lieu to a value of 50 hours.But due to an operation I was off for 4 weeks.My employer has continued to plot a rota and reduce the hours even though I was on paid sick leave leaving me now with only 33 hours. Is this legal?Thanks
ClaireTA - 15-Oct-17 @ 8:22 AM
My partner has been allowed to accrue 20 hours flexy ( toil),and has had 2 days holiday granted for later in the year, so because she has all this toil accrued, she has asked to change the days off to " toil " days and as had these declined and will Probably loose the time accrued in toil. Surely this is either wrong at best and illegal at worst. Please can you advise on the law regarding this. Kindest regards Ian
Skanko - 10-Oct-17 @ 7:46 PM
blvdnights - Your Question:
Hello,i have been made redundant and days in lieu will be paid to me.am I still entitled to take time off going to interviews?regards,

Our Response:
If you’ve been continuously employed for two years by the date your notice period ends, you’re allowed a reasonable amount of time off to: look for another job, arrange training to help you find another job. Please see gov.uk link here for more information.
WorkingRights - 3-Oct-17 @ 11:07 AM
Hello, i have been made redundant and days in lieu will be paid to me. am i still entitled to take time off going to interviews? regards,
blvdnights - 2-Oct-17 @ 2:19 PM
Hello, My company has a lieu time policy of you have to work 45 hours a week before you can accrue lieu time, our standard working week is 37 hours,so I am having to work 8 hours FREE before I get any time back is this legal or just and can I challenge it? Also, they have the policy that if you work 8 hours on a weekend then you get all those hours back at just time, and not time and a quarter or half. I am looking at doing at least 60 -70 hours next week, when the company will get paid for all of it but only offer me 60-70 less 8 hours. Can someone advise what I can do, please?
davey345 - 12-Sep-17 @ 8:36 AM
Can your employer refuse a lieu day off the you have accurred?
Ross - 13-Jul-17 @ 12:54 PM
Can your 11hr rest break be taken away by toil! I.e work from 9 till midnight. Then turn up to work at 11am the next. Can the employer take your toil away as you were not in work at 9am!
Djlee - 12-Jul-17 @ 2:14 PM
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