Q: Some of my staff are happy to be paid overtime, but others prefer time off in lieu. What are the rules around this?
A: Firstly, check the conditions of employment in the relevant award or enterprise agreement. If there is nothing in there in relation to how overtime is to be handled, you should go by the default position of the National Employment Standards. This states that all employees must be paid for their overtime. Remember it is you or your manager’s responsibility to approve all overtime before it is worked.
Generally, employees covered by the same employment instrument (an award or an enterprise agreement) should be treated the same way: either they all get paid overtime or they all get access to time in lieu. Obviously what works for one employee may not work for another. You can offer both options to your employees. Just remember you will need to keep separate records for those who are paid overtime and those who receive time in lieu. So only do this if you are prepared to do so.
Time off in lieu is calculated at the ordinary time rate. For example, an hour of overtime equals to an hour off work. However, some of the modernised awards, employees are to be given up to two hours of time off for each hour of overtime worked. To look up the detail of the award covering your employees, for to www.fwa.gov.au which is the website of Fair Work Australia, the national workplace relations tribunal.