Managing Employee Holiday Requests

With summer months and school holidays just around the corner,  travel abroad as well as staycations are about to take off! Holiday requests (especially those made last minute!) will undoubtedly cause employers stress and headaches especially during peak holiday season.

Find below our top tips to managing your employee’s holiday requests fairly and effectively…

  • Ensure your holiday/ annual leave policy is up to date. A detailed policy will set out how your company deals with holiday requests. This will help avoid confusion concerning the approval process, period of notice and number of holiday days allowed to be taken at any one time. Making your policies accessible to employees will make sure they know what to expect when making holiday requests and will demonstrate that your business is maintaining fairness and equality across your workforce.
  • Set a period of notice. Prevent your company from feeling the pressure of granting last minute requests. The more notice you are given by employees when requesting holiday leave, the more time you have to prepare for lower staffing levels. 
  • ‘First come, first serve!’. It can be difficult to decide what the fairest way of approving holiday leave for employees may be. What if you get more requests for specific dates than your business can grant without the risk of operations being affected? Consider implementing a first come first serve basis, this is not only the most common and fairest way to manage requests, but this will also encourage employees to request their holiday leave as far in advance as possible to ensure their request gets approved first, avoiding too many last minute requests.
  • Have a plan in place for handling conflicting requests. Deal with disputes fairly, you may be required to refuse holiday requests or give priority to one employee over another. It is important that you take each employees situation into consideration and make sure you give employees enough notice should you reject their holiday requests.
  • Don’t leave yourself short staffed. Include in your holiday policy any dates (perhaps during peak times for your business) that your employees are not able to take leave and set a limit on the number of employees that are allowed to be granted holiday leave at any one time, to ensure your staffing levels do not affect the successful operation of your business.

         and last (but most definitely not least!)

  • Don’t forget your legal requirements. Employees who work a 5-day week are legally entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday a year. Part-time workers are entitled to at least 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday, but this will be calculated pro-rata taking their working hours into consideration. Visit the government’s website here to find out more.

If you would like further support or advice on managing your employees holiday requests or any other HR-related issue, email us today at [email protected].