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Hours of work, overtime and TOIL

This policy provides details of the standard working week for all Birkbeck staff (except academic staff - see below), and the terms under which overtime and time off in lieu (TOIL) may be worked and paid.

The requirements of the Working Time Regulations have been taken into consideration in the development of this policy.

Academic employees are exempt from regulation (20) Unmeasured Working Time of the Working Time Regulations, as they do not have set working patterns. Therefore, academic staff are not covered by the 48-hour maximum working week; they are, however, covered by the regulations with regard to statutory holiday entitlements.

While staff can work certain combinations of multiple concurrent posts where authorised, the maximum combination of concurrent posts which can be worked may not exceed 1FTE.

Where an employee requires a change to their working hours or pattern, they must have the clear authorisation of their line manager to vary the hours worked, as stated in their contract of employment (see the Flexible working policy and guidance).


The standard working week has been harmonised for all staff (excluding academics) at 35 hours per week (excluding any breaks). No employee will be required to work over 48 hours as part of their normal working week. In areas where planned overtime is required, individuals who are willing to work in excess of 48 hours per week, and to whom the Working Time Regulations apply, will be requested to sign an Appendix 1 opt-out form (Word) (Birkbeck staff only) to show their agreement to work such hours.  

Work breaks are unpaid and details of when they may be taken should be agreed with the manager in each area. All persons who work for over six hours on any one day must be allowed to take an unpaid break of at least 20 minutes. Young persons (who are aged between 18 and 21) are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid break after four and a half hours are worked. These conditions are in accordance with the Working Time Regulations.

All employees are entitled to a minimum daily rest period of 11 hours and a rest period of 24 hours in a seven-day period, or 48 hours in a 14-day period unless there are objective, technical or work organisational reasons which prohibit the taking of such a break.

Those persons working hours on a shift or rota system are subject to a separate set of arrangements contained within their own terms and conditions.


To ensure consistency across jobs rated of equal value, eligibility to receive paid overtime or TOIL is determined by pay grade:

  • Grades 2-6: eligible to work and to be paid overtime or take TOIL where required by business need.
  • Grades 7-10: remuneration is deemed to cover the requirements of the post and to allow for a level of flexibility, therefore paid overtime will only be available in exceptional circumstances where required by business need. TOIL will only be available where required by business need.

The working of overtime to either be paid or compensated as TOIL will require forward planning and the authorisation from the manager and budget holder in advance of the work being carried out. The College’s preference is that TOIL is taken wherever possible, although this should be agreed between the manager and the staff involved in each case. This arrangement also applies to emergency cover, where the manager requires an employee to do additional hours to those they would normally work.

If a member of staff is contracted to work weekends as part of their normal working week, enhanced payments or TOIL will not be paid, unless the hours worked are over and above the 35-hour basic week.

For part-time employees, overtime will be paid at their basic hourly rate up to the 35-hour standard working week. Thereafter, and/or for any weekend working, the appropriate overtime rates will be applied.

Overtime payments will be calculated on basic salary and are not pensionable.


Please see below information relating to overtime payments:

  • Hours worked up to the 35-hour basic week receive normal basic pay. Part time staff will be remunerated at single time for additional hours worked up to the 35-hour basic week.
  • Hours worked in addition to the 35-hour basic week will be paid at a rate of time and a half.
  • Hours worked on a Saturday or Sunday, where these are not the employee’s contracted working days (see general principles above), will be paid at a rate of time and a half.
  • Hours worked on a Bank Holiday or closure day as part of the 35-hour basic week, will be paid at double time, or plain time with the equivalent number of hours worked taken as TOIL at plain time.
  • Where staff are specifically contracted to work Bank Holidays and/or closure days (e.g. Library staff on annualised hours contracts) as part of their normal working week, this is incorporated into their total annual hours, for which they receive 12 equal instalments over the year. When an employee works their Bank Holiday or closure day, the hours should be claimed at plain time, therefore totaling an enhanced (double) payment. If there was an occasion where an individual was asked to work an additional Bank Holiday (e.g. sickness cover) they would be entitled to claim this at double time.
  • Overtime rates will be calculated against the jobholder’s spinal point and salary at the time of undertaking the work.
  • Where a member of staff works overtime in a different job to their substantive position, this will be remunerated at the rate for the job they are covering as this may vary from their own hourly rate.


Where TOIL is to be taken in respect of additional hours worked, the following arrangements will apply:

  • Hours worked in addition to the 35-hour basic week, from Monday to Friday - TOIL taken on an hour-for-hour basis
  • Hours worked in addition to the 35-hour basic week on a Saturday or Sunday - TOIL to be taken at a rate of one and a half hours for every hour worked.
  • Hours worked on a Bank Holiday or College Closure day, either TOIL at a rate of two hours for every hour worked, OR, TOIL on an hour-for-hour basis plus pay at plain time for the number of hours worked.
  • Any TOIL accrued, must be taken at a time agreed in advance with the employee’s line manager and in the case of teaching staff TOIL may not be taken during their scheduled teaching time.



In certain circumstances, staff within central and school IT services and the Library may be required to work additional hours to cover emergencies. In these cases, where staff are called in unexpectedly, they will be entitled to claim their travelling time, in addition to the actual hours worked. This arrangement does not apply to those staff who currently participate on an official on-call rota, for which there are separate terms and conditions.


For formal requests for flexible working on an individual basis, please refer to the Flexible working policy.


All those persons referred to within this policy are required to adhere to its terms and conditions. They must understand that this policy is also incorporated into their contract of employment.

Individual managers are responsible for ensuring that this policy is applied within their own area.  Any queries on the application or interpretation of this policy may be discussed with the Human Resources team prior to any action being taken.

The Director of Human Resources has responsibility for ensuring the maintenance, regular review and updating of this policy. Revisions, amendments or alterations to the policy will be agreed in consultation, where applicable, with the Trade Unions and the appropriate College Committee.