Planning summer holiday cover

Most of us want to enjoy the summer with family and friends, or perhaps take a couple of weeks away from it all and have an exotic holiday in the sun.

But employers need to think about balancing the needs of employees to rest and recharge their batteries with the needs of the organisation to ensure that there is sufficient cover.

Many of your line managers will experience the classic scenario where an employee requests some time off only to be refused as others in the team have already booked the time off.

The best way avoid a mass exodus over the summer and disgruntled employees is to plan ahead.

A good start is to draw you employees’ attention to your annual leave policy, which should lay down how much notice an employee needs to provide, how the leave must be booked and how many consecutive working days can be taken. You may also specify how many people can be off work at any one time to ensure that business demands are met. Our Employment Law Advisers can help you draft an annual leave policy for your organisation.

If numerous workers do want the same days or weeks off, you could grant leave on the basis of “first come, first served”. This encourages people to submit their requests early and it should also act as a reminder that they need to ask for time off before buying flights, hotels and car rental and facing a massive disappointment.

If your organisation is open all year around with no seasonal shutdowns, you could also consider allowing people to choose between time off at Christmas and summer. So if someone does not get the time off they requested at Christmas, they could be given priority when they are booking leave for their summer holiday.

In any case, you need to be fair and consistent in the way you process and allocate holiday requests. For employees who are parents of young children, they will be particular keen to have time off during half terms and the long summer break, therefore you should encourage teams to collaborate with each other to coordinate leave. This will ensure operational business requirements are met and issues are quickly resolved.

If you need help resolving annual leave issues, contact your Employment Law Adviser who can give you all the guidance and support you need.

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