Overtime policy

This policy aims to provide guidance to managers and staff on the operation of overtime and additional payments. The University will minimise the requirement for staff members to work over their weekly contracted hours wherever possible, but recognises that in some circumstances, to meet the operational needs of the University during busy times, an employee may be asked to work over and above their contracted weekly working hours. 

Definition of overtime

Overtime is defined as any hours worked by an employee within a one week period that exceed the employee’s normal contracted hours and which have been worked with the agreement of their line manager to meet particular circumstances.

Principles of the policy

  • The University has a commitment to ensuring that staff members maintain a healthy work-life balance and will try to ensure that the need to work overtime is kept to an absolute minimum.
  • Managers must plan the most effective way of achieving service needs, in order to minimise the need for overtime working.
  • When asking a member of staff to work overtime, the Working Time Regulations 1998 must be considered. These guidelines state that an individual should not work more than 48 hours per week on average. (Further guidance on the application of the Regulations is available from People and Organisational Development.)
  • Managers must always consider allocating time off in lieu first as an alternative to paid overtime, wherever possible.
  • The University has responsibilities under Equal Pay legislation and therefore overtime is remunerated at prescribed rates across the University. There is no flexibility for managers to pay outside of these rates.
  • In the majority of cases there is no contractual entitlement to overtime working. Equally, there is no contractual obligation for a staff member to take up an offer of overtime working. (There are some exceptions within Facilities Management, in particular in Security).

Payment conditions

  • Payment for overtime is at plain time where the weekly contracted hours and overtime hours total less than 37 hours per week. Part time staff will be remunerated at plain time for any additional hours worked up to the 37 hour basic week. Payment at enhanced rates will only be granted once a 37 hour working week has been completed (calculated from midnight on a Sunday).
  • Overtime payments will only be made if Time Off in Lieu arrangements are not practical: this will be determined by the line manager, not the employee.  If it is deemed to be unfeasible to offer time off in lieu, due to the operational needs of the University, then payment will be authorised.  
  • Academic and related staff are not entitled to receive payment for overtime over 37 hours and are contracted to work such hours as are necessary for the efficient discharge of their duties. Therefore, it is very important that Heads of Department are extra vigilant to ensure that these staff are not required to work excessively long hours. The Head of Department may grant equivalent time off in lieu to such staff where it is deemed appropriate to do so.

Payment rates

O/T workedPayment staff member will receive in total
Overtime over 37 hours Monday to Friday T and 1/2
Additional hours up to 37 hours for part time staff Plain time
Overtime over 37 hours Saturday working T and 1/2
Overtime over 37 hours Sunday work Double time
Contracted to work Saturday as part of the individual’s normal working week Plain time
Contracted to work Sunday as part of the individual’s normal working week Plain time
Bank Holiday/ Extra Statutory days if not contracted to work Double time plus day in lieu
Bank Holiday/ Extra Statutory days if  contracted to work Double time plus day in lieu (This will be the plain time they are already contracted to receive plus plain time again to give an overall payment of double time)


Overtime payments will only be made if the following payment conditions have been adhered to:


i) Manager’s Role

All overtime working must be authorised as far in advance as possible, by the relevant line manager, before a staff member begins working. The line manager must confirm the rate of pay/time off arrangements to which the staff member is entitled, before the overtime work is completed.

ii) Finance Department

The Payroll section will adhere to the principles in this policy when remunerating overtime. Payroll staff are not able to allow a manager pay overtime above or below these agreed rates.

The Finance department will also produce monthly reports on overtime payments for each department.  This information will be given to Heads of Departments and school managers, who will be expected to monitor their overtime spend and ensure that overtime is not being abused.


Overtime payments will only be made for periods of thirty minutes or more in any day. Any overtime worked of less than thirty minutes shall be recompensed by the award of time off in lieu.

Flexi time

This policy is written in line with the existing flexi-time policy which states that “A maximum of 8 hours may be carried over from one four week period to the next.  Any surplus in excess of 8 hours will be lost.” Surplus flexi hours do not count as paid overtime and will not be paid as such.

In order to take account of specific operational difficulties during term time, Technicians may be able to accumulate a maximum of 3 days flexi-leave during the Autumn (October to December), Spring (January to March) and Summer (April to June) terms. These 3 days must be taken before the start of the respective new term. In the case of the Summer term, this time slot extends from June to October but the maximum accumulated flexi-leave remains at 3 days.

Other additional payments

The University recognises that there are situations where an employee may be entitled to receive other payments in addition to their basic salary, such as on-call allowance or shift allowance, as appropriate to their role and these payments are confirmed in the letter of appointment issued to the individual member of staff.

Author: Human Resources: Approved by Council May 2011.