Most workers look forward to using their annual leave for a well earned break. However staff holidays have to be thoughtfully balanced with ensuring business needs are still successfully met. Especially if you see fluctuations in your revenue at various times of the year, that correspond with staff annual leave, say summer holidays or Christmas. Here we take a look at the regulations and considerations when managing staff annual leave legally and fairly.
How to Manage Staff Annual Leave
All employees are entitled to a minimum number of days of staff annual leave per year. This amount will be stated within their contract. Provided the employer does not prevent an employee from taking this leave over the course of the year, it is up to the employer to determine the rules around when annual leave can be taken. Some businesses will specify set periods of shut down where leave must be taken by some departments to or all employees in relation to all or part of their employee’s annual leave entitlement. This is a perfectly usual practice as long as the employer gives twice the length of the enforced leave period, as notice to the employee.
Otherwise most of the time employees are permitted to request annual leave periods as they wish. The employer can then choose to grant or deny the request – as long as there is a genuine objective business reason for declining a request from an employee. This may be due to minimum staffing requirements and clashes between employee requests for leave. Some time periods are more desirable such as school holidays for those with young families or around seasonal celebrations such as Christmas, Hanukkah or Ramadan for example. It is especially advisable to consider how to fairly manage annual leave around busy periods, depending on your workforce. The most equitable method of dealing with requests for annual leave is usually on a “first come first served” basis.
First Come First Serve
It’s common that the first come first served system leads to more requests for time off being made earlier and earlier. This can cause some employees to feel as though they have missed out, especially if they have worked this period, the previous year. There is a risk in granting requests early and over-promising time off. One way to mitigate this is to set a deadline for requests for the busy periods. If you set up a good system for managing annual leave, then you could choose to grant priority to those who have worked the previous year.
In the UK there are extra bank holidays over the Christmas period and over Easter. When any of these fall on a weekend the next following working days will be designated as a replacement day. An employee will therefore be entitled to time off on a bank holiday on top of their contracted annual leave. This also needs to be taken into consideration over Easter.
Anyone working with direct sales will likely be looking to achieve an uptick in revenue over the festive season, so if this is your busiest time of year approaching you’ll need to think carefully about staffing cover balanced with your employee’s leave requests. You certainly want to cover staffing in house if possible to save the extra costs in administrative time by hiring casual staff.
Whatever your specialist business requirements are and whatever combination of the rules above that you adopt, it is important to ensure that those rules are clearly communicated to all staff well in advance and are applied fairly and equally to everyone you have within your workforce.
Prestige Business Management is proudly partnered with BrightPay Cloud. The portal for your Payroll, HR and Employee Calendar, if you have employees Prestige Business Management will manage your payroll for you. With BrightPay Cloud, you can access all of your payroll reports, view your HMRC liabilities, share HR documents with your employees or even your whole workforce. Better yet your employees will have their own login so they view their payslips, request holiday and view documents you have shared with them. Your employees can even request changes to their details which are sent directly to Prestige BM without needing to go through to inform us of a change of address. Giving you more time to focus on your business and worry less about admin.
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