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A Guide to Organising Staff holidays

Undoubtedly, your staff can’t take leave at a go. It is never easy to manage leave during any winter holiday season. Not all employees can have first dibs. With careful planning, however, you can avoid some of the staff holiday management obstacles and dissatisfied staff.

1. Fairness and Consistency

If you want to maintain excellent employee relations, it is vital to maintain fairness and consistency when treating all holiday requests. Although it is quite tempting to favor specific employees for various genuine reasons, there will only be resentment among your staff if you allow preferential treatment. Also, this is not good for your particular business.

Fairness is essential when dealing with conflicting requests. In case two, key staff members need to be off in the same period, try bargaining some staggering. At times, a bit of “push-and-shove” might be needed on both sides.

2. Transparent Policies and Procedures

Having a transparent policy will help in achieving fairness and consistency when it comes to annual leave. Policy and procedure must be thoroughly explained to staff at the start of their employment, and must also be laid out in all employee contracts. What’s more, a staff handbook that employees may refer to must have the same.

If need be, the annual leave policy could contain restrictions. You might also lay out whether only a specific number of employees in a certain role can be off in the same period. For instance, if you have a few delivery drivers, you wouldn’t want them to be out on leave in the same period. Also, if there are specific busy times of the year or certain deadlines when you have to be fully staffed, you might need to restrict or rule out those times for leave requests.

Standard leave rules may include:

– A typical procedure for approving holidays (usually on a first-come, first-served basis)

– Rules on carrying leave forward to the following year and, if allowed, for how many days

– Restrict holidays to a maximum of 2 weeks at a single time

– Leave restrictions – any particularly busy times when no leave is permitted

– The right to reschedule holidays or suggest alternative dates based on business requirements

– Employers’ summer holiday guidance is from The Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service (Acas). So, to avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings with your staff in the future, it would be best to get leave policies right.

3. Have a Plan

It is prudent to have a notice duration for leave requests of longer than 3-4 days. It could be included in your staff leave policy and outlined clearly in the staff handbook. It generally motivates staff to think ahead while planning holidays, and it also means you will know in due time should you want to plan cover for specific roles. Work schedule makers such as those offered from TrackTime24 can be a great aid.

By having a company holiday diary, it will be useful in planning. It can also help to remind staff they have to book holidays before their particular annual leave year expires. If you want to manage staff rotas and holidays much easier, then consider tools like the availability planner by Planday.

Besides, sharing certain holiday schedules with staff motivates them to take responsibility and prevent holiday clashes with other colleagues. With transparency, staff can plan their leave around others well in advance.

4. Motivate Staff to Spread Leave Throughout the Year

Besides exceptional circumstances, it is absolutely not a wise idea to allow your staff to take much of their leave allowance in one go. It will certainly affect your business in one way or another. For a start, you will be forced to deal with the workload without bringing someone else in or deploying other staff. Furthermore, from a wellbeing perspective, that worker will have no serious other breaks for the rest of that year.

Still, please don’t assume it is a good thing when some employees aren’t too concerned about taking holidays. It is never a wise idea to have staff with untaken leave at a leave year’s end. Motivate staff to spread out holidays throughout the year. What’s more, you could also set a deadline for when each leave request requires to be submitted. It will also help prevent the insane rush to take advantage of holidays at the leave year’s end.

5. Consider Temporary Cover

It might not be something you want to think about because of the cost. At times, however, arranging temporary cover might ultimately be ideal for your business’s constant success. For instance, in case all of your employees in one department comprise school-age children, you will undoubtedly encounter a rush for leave requests over school holidays.

In case your staff are individuals you wish to hang on to, you might have to make some compromises. Generally speaking, hiring someone temporarily during winter months might be a worthwhile investment. It may keep staff motivated and, in turn, projects on track.

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