It’s time off, or overtime, says Fair Work Australia

WORKERS and their employers across 26 industries, many of them in regional areas, could soon be able to negotiate time off in lieu of overtime pay.

Under the Fair Work Australia decision released yesterday, many workers who previously were unable to claim TOIL now will be able to do so.

Coal miners, on-site builders, electrical contractors, horse and greyhound trainers, joiners and long-distance truck drivers were among those proposed to get the choice to take TOIL for overtime worked.

While the decision, under the four-yearly modern award wages review, was subject to more public submissions and hearings, it shows the FWA supports the changes.

It follows a push by the Australian Industry Group for wider TOIL changes, some of which were rejected, but the majority were taken on by the industrial relations regulator.

AIG chief Innes Willox said the decision would allow "many thousands of workers" who could not access TOIL to be able to take time off rather than being paid for overtime.

He said it would particularly help people who had caring responsibilities and those who valued time off from work more than overtime payments.

While unions argued the changes should give workers TOIL at overtime penalty rates for each award, the FWA instead went for a "time for time" arrangement - or one hour off for each overtime hour worked.

Mr Willox said the changes would not affect workers already able to claim TOIL for overtime at penalty rates, but would extend the "time for time" deal to workers under 90% of awards.

He said it would help both workers and employers to have more flexibility in deciding how to deal with overtime. Submissions were open until late August, with a hearing due in September.