Everyone has the same idea of catching some rays in the Costa Del Sol and switching their briefcase for their suitcase.
According to the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, each employee is entitled to approximately 4 weeks’ annual leave.
If a lot of your staff take their holidays at once, it will undoubtedly derail productivity, especially if you’re a small business.
Regulating the summer holidays is a failsafe way to make your life easier and ensure your employees get the rest they deserve.
First Come, First Served
Sounds pretty simple, right? Wrong.
While a first-come, first-served basis is probably the fairest way to manage holiday requests, it is important to inform staff of the periods likely to be the most popular ahead of time.
Employees must be informed of alternative break periods available and made aware of the limitations of attaining summer leave so as expectations don’t become too high and be quashed thereafter.
Here are 3 top HR tips to ensure your annual leave policy is up to scratch!
- Carrying Over Holiday Leave
Sometimes employees will take holidays en masse to ‘use up’ those they have accrued.
This sense of urgency often leads to crossovers between employees’ planned holidays and there’s nothing worse than telling one employee that they can’t jet off because of a clash.
While annual leave is usually taken within that leave year, it’s legal to spend leave within 6 months of the relevant year, with employer’s consent.
By negotiating with upper management about opening a carryover period for employees, you will reduce the perceived pressure on staff to take them while they can.
- All Hands On Deck
If there is a specific time when you need everyone available to work, you can establish a ‘blackout’ for that period.
Creating a company blackout will ensure your business operations run smoothly during busy periods and will make sure staff know the available windows of time for their holidays.
- Set Holiday Length to Ensure Everyone Gets Some Sun
Applying a limit will democratise the holiday season and lessen the rush to book vacation time as everyone will have the same chances of securing their summer break.
Digital applications like WHOSOFF are a great way to help your staff envision the windows of time available to them and can also be used to communicate the tenets of your annual leave policy to staff ahead of time.
Note! Be Transparent!
It is important to agree on a process by which employees are allocated time off.
As HR practitioners are often colleagues of employees in different departments, it is vital that no preferential treatment is given to friends of those who are running operations.
Furthermore, it is vital that all levels and types of staff are treated equally when it comes to leave requests, respective of their contract type and hours.
Share a calendar, either online or on the wall of the office, and update it with the accepted applications you have received.
This will not only communicate that you are treating each staff member fairly but allow you to book cover far in advance and motivate staff to work around each other in the planning of their breaks.
Implementing an annual leave policy will level the playing field for employees seeking that well-deserved summer holiday.
Informing employees of carryover and blackout periods, as well as the maximum time they can take off is vital to ensuring efficient negotiation between HRs and employees.
Making a collective calendar accessible to all staff members will ensure transparency and will enable staff to be informed about their colleagues’ bookings when they submit their application.
In short, we can all go on a summer holiday but just not at once! Negotiation by management and HR is key to keeping staff happy and your business productive during the upcoming summer season.