< Back to articles
Andrew Arkley|August 22, 2023

Time Off In Lieu (TOIL): What Is It?

Article Image

In today’s fast-paced professional world, work-life balance is increasingly important. 

Employees strive to strike the right equilibrium between their personal and professional lives, leading to various flexible work arrangements. 

One such arrangement that has gained traction is time off in lieu (TOIL). 

In this blog, we will delve into the concept of TOIL, its benefits, how it works, and its significance in modern workplaces.

What is time off in lieu (TOIL)?

Let’s strip things back and define TOIL.

Time off in lieu, commonly referred to as TOIL, is a flexible work arrangement that some employers offer their staff. 

It is a practice where employees receive paid time off for the extra hours they have worked beyond their regular work schedule. 

Instead of receiving overtime pay, employees accumulate these extra hours as credit, to take time off from work without any loss of income.

In this way, TOIL is different from unpaid leave or most forms of sabbatical leave.

What are some of the benefits of TOIL?

  • Flexibility: TOIL offers employees the flexibility to choose when they want to take time off. This can be particularly advantageous when employees need to attend to personal matters, medical appointments, or family commitments.
  • Work-life balance: In a world where maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial, TOIL provides an avenue for employees to recharge and spend quality time with their loved ones.
  • Reduced overtime costs: For employers, TOIL can be financially beneficial. Instead of paying overtime wages, they can offer paid time off, which might be a more cost-effective solution.
  • Employee morale and loyalty: Companies that prioritise employee well-being and offer flexible arrangements like TOIL often experience higher employee morale and increased loyalty. When employees feel that their personal time is respected, they tend to be more committed to their roles.
  • Attraction and retention: In the competitive job market, companies that provide unique benefits like TOIL are more likely to attract and retain top talent. Job seekers often consider such factors when evaluating potential employers.

Certainly, we see post-pandemic, when the flexibility of work has increased prominence – for example, with the rise of hybrid working – restrictive company policies can deter quality hires.

Time off in lieu in the UK

Let’s look more closely at how time off in lieu works in the UK.

Accumulation of hours:

Employees accumulate extra hours worked beyond their standard schedule. These hours are usually tracked using a timekeeping system or software. The rate at which extra hours accumulate can vary depending on company policies and local labour laws.

Requesting TOIL:

When employees wish to use their accumulated TOIL, they typically need to submit a request to their supervisor or the HR department. The request should specify the date(s) on which they intend to take time off and the number of TOIL hours they wish to use.

Managerial approval:

Approval of TOIL requests is usually subject to managerial discretion and workload considerations. While companies strive to accommodate these requests, they must also meet their operational needs.

Utilising TOIL:

Once the TOIL request is approved, employees can enjoy their paid time off without worrying about a deduction in their salary. TOIL can be used for a full day off or even for a few hours, depending on company policies.

Remember that taking sick days at work is something completely different to TOIL, even though some employees will still receive pay while off work due to illness.

Significance of TOIL in modern workplaces

Adapting to changing work dynamics:

Traditional 9-to-5 work models are evolving. Remote work, flexible hours, and compressed workweeks are becoming commonplace. TOIL aligns perfectly with this changing landscape by providing an alternative to rigid overtime compensation.

Employee-centric approach:

TOIL embodies an employee-centric approach that emphasises the importance of rest and personal time. This approach can boost employee satisfaction and contribute to a positive organisational culture.

Legal and ethical considerations:

TOIL practices are often influenced by labour laws and regulations. It is important for both employers and employees to be aware of these legal aspects to ensure fair and transparent implementation.

Employers: Tips for implementing TOIL effectively

Clear communication is absolutely vital. 

Employers should communicate TOIL policies clearly to employees, outlining the eligibility criteria.

It goes without saying, fairness should be at the heart of your TOIL policy. Avoid bias or favouritism. It is easy to do this by prioritising effective communication.

Accurate tracking of TOIL hours is essential. Companies should invest in reliable timekeeping systems to avoid discrepancies.

Make sure everyone is on-board and clearly understands the policy. Managers should be educated about TOIL and its benefits to make informed decisions when approving requests.

Periodic reviews of the TOIL policy can help ensure its effectiveness and make necessary adjustments based on employee feedback and changing business needs.

Time off in lieu: Final thoughts

In the modern professional landscape, time off in lieu (TOIL) has emerged as a valuable tool in fostering work-life balance. 

It empowers employees by granting them the flexibility to manage their time and personal commitments effectively. 

Simultaneously, it enables employers to enhance employee satisfaction, attract talent, and control overtime costs. TOIL is a testament to the evolving nature of work arrangements, where employee well-being takes centre stage. 

As workplaces continue to transform, embracing practices like TOIL could be a strategic step toward a more harmonious and productive work environment.

We offer a wide range of career-support services, including tailored CV writing support.

If you’d like to find out more about time off in lieu or how we can help your work-life balance, get in touch with our expert team today.

PurpleCV YouTube Channel Subscription Banner

Related articles


    🍪 Cookie consent

    We value your privacy! Please take a moment to customise your cookie preferences. By clicking 'Submit' you agree to the use of cookies as described below:

    Collects data on user interactions to improve website performance.
    Ad Personalisation
    Customises ads based on user interests.
    For more information, please refer to our cookie policy.