Updated: May 17
Time Off In Lieu, otherwise known as TOIL, is an arrangement where an employer compensates employees who work more than their contracted hours by offering them time off rather than paying overtime. Employees agree to the terms of TOIL with their employer, for instance, by agreeing to take TOIL only during slack periods.
Here we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of offering TOIL and how it is affected by the current trend of working remotely for all or part of the working week. Accurately monitoring overtime and fairly converting the extra hours worked into time off are essential; we will mention how to achieve this using an online holiday tracker.
The pros and cons of time off in lieu
There are three main ways of handling the additional hours worked by employees:
1) Encourage a culture in which workers feel obliged to work additional hours for no reward. This is very common. Often workers do so to maintain appearances demonstrating a commitment to their colleagues and managers. In such cultures, workers who leave on time are looked down on. However, such cultures tend to be counter-productive. Productivity levels fall, and workers become exhausted, risking burnout.
2) Paid overtime is a popular solution and is undoubtedly better than the first option. However, although workers enjoy being paid extra for their overtime hours, this system can also reduce productivity and lead to eventual burnout. Even if you are paid to do so, working too many hours is bad for both your physical and mental health. From an employers viewpoint, it can be costly and difficult to budget.
3) Time off in lieu allows workers to take time off and recharge their batteries as compensation for working extra hours. However, for the system to work effectively, it is essential to create a culture where workers take time off rather than just accumulating hours. In cultures that achieve this, TOIL can work well for employers and workers alike. Workers can effectively extend their holidays with days off to fit in with their lifestyle; they can enjoy a far better work/life balance, and the flexibility provided is excellent for team building and morale.
Changing work patterns
Will we ever return to the pre-pandemic days when most of us worked from an office or other shared workspaces? For many, Covid has certainly killed traditional work patterns, and there is every indication that hybrid working, in other words splitting the work week between the office and working from home, is here for the long haul.
And it’s not just where we work that has changed. The additional flexibility afforded by home working has altered our daily work patterns. Where work practices permit it, we tend to start our working day earlier and end it later, leaving time in-between to pursue our interests and activities. However, adapting previous work practices to the new normal is challenging for managers, and one area of concern is how to handle TOIL.
TOIL and remote working
While calculating TOIL is much easier when people are working at the office, for instance, introducing clocking and signing in and out, an additional level of trust is needed when working from home. But trust is already an essential element of working from home. While many managers have trust issues and distrust has increased amongst colleagues who now rarely interact face to face, we are learning how to rebuild trust and improve social bonds between fellow workers and managers. While trust-building is a complex issue, a significant factor is fairness; employees need to feel treated fairly, and managers need to ensure this happens.
Accurate recording of overtime and TOIL is essential
Employees must be confident that the extra hours they work are recorded accurately. For instance, with LeaveWizard, they can record and report all extra hours they work, and once their overtime request is approved, the extra hours or days can be automatically converted into TOIL.
Introducing TOIL into your workplace is, in many circumstances, a better solution than paid overtime. It is far more preferable than expecting workers to put in extra hours for no reward because their workplace culture obliges them to do so.
However, for TOIL to work effectively, it must be embraced by workers and management alike. TOIL must be transparent, easy to record, for example by using a holiday tracker, and must allow employee leave requests that comply with pre-agreed rules such as when to take time off should always be honoured.
In conclusion, we think that TOIL provides a better work/life balance and is excellent for our well-being.