Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award [MA000036].
With the written agreement of their employer, an employee can choose to take paid time off instead of being paid for overtime.
An employer can’t force or pressure an employee to take time off instead of being paid for overtime.
Agreeing in writing
For each pay period, employers and employees need to make a separate written agreement for any overtime the employee has worked and wants to take time off for.
An email exchange can count as a written agreement.
Example: Separate agreements
Bob is paid weekly and his pay period goes from Monday – Sunday. Bob works 5 hours of overtime on Tuesday and wants to take paid time off instead of being paid overtime for it. Bob makes an agreement with his employer to take time off for the 5 hours. The next pay period, Bob works 4 hours of overtime on Wednesday and also wants to take it as time off instead of being paid overtime. Bob makes another, separate written agreement with this employer for the 4 hours he wants to take off.
The agreement has to say:
- how many hours of overtime the employee worked and when they worked them
- that the employer and employee agree for the employee to take time off instead of being paid overtime
- that at any point before the time off is taken, the employee may request to be paid the overtime instead and the employer has to pay it in the next pay period.
Employers have to keep this agreement for the employee’s records.
Taking the time off
An employee gets an hour of paid time off for each hour of overtime they’ve worked.
The time off has to be taken within 6 months of working the overtime and at a time (or at more than one time) that the employer and employee agree to.
If the employee doesn’t take the time off within 6 months of working the overtime, their employer has to pay them the overtime that would have applied in their next pay cycle.
If an employee has accumulated time off instead of being paid overtime and their employment ends before they take it, the employer has to pay them the overtime that would have applied.
To find out more about who this award applies to, go to the Plumbing Award summary.
Source reference: Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award [MA000036] clause 33.7