It finally feels like summer is here. The sun is out, the birds are singing and schools are about to break up.

Holiday time can be difficult for employers though with many staff wanting to take annual leave during the same period. So what can you do about this?

It’s important to have a documented process for requesting leave. Make sure that staff know that they need to have their annual leave request confirmed before they commit to any bookings that they want to make. Most companies run a first come, first served approach to holiday requests with only an agreed number of staff away from work at any one time. If that’s the case then make sure it is clear and if you have to decline a holiday request or put one on hold because someone else has got in first then explain that so that staff know what’s going on. You could also offer them alternative dates that you know are available to show that you are being reasonable and supportive.

With the ever changing traffic light system of holiday destinations there is also likely to be some disruption to holidays at short notice this year. Staff might rush to get a request in when a country moves to the green list or be left with a quandary over quarantine if they are booked to go to a country that is suddenly moved to amber. Try to be as flexible as you can, if staff have leave booked and their plans change then try and look at things from as many angles as you possibly can to support them.

Cancelled holidays and worries about travel have also created issues around staff either not taking their holiday entitlement because they can’t or don’t want to go away, and a relatively new issue of leaveism. Leaveism is when staff book leave but actually use that time to catch up on work rather than use the leave to take a break. Make sure that your staff know that annual leave is time away from work regardless of whether they are at home or going away. Everyone needs time to relax and enjoy time off work but if this time is being used for work then it is counter-productive, keep an eye out for any signs of leaveism, if staff are replying to emails whilst on leave or sending you a report or other work to check over when they should be enjoying an ice cream then remind them that this isn’t expected and that you want them to switch off.

If you have any questions about holidays then give us a call at CUBE HR, we’ll be happy to advise you and discuss ways that you can record and manage leave and how to handle situations when you have to decline requests to make sure that you do it fairly and consistently, we also have a video from Lisa that might be useful.