HR FAQS – How do you manage holidays in a small team effectively?

Date: Friday, 31st May, 2019

With June just around the corner, the holiday season is fast approaching and employees will be looking to get their leave booked in, the problem is, why is it they all seem to want to be off together!

Here at HR Revolution we are only a small team, so have to think and plan ahead regarding holidays and with only a small number of people covering, it can be more difficult to manage.

So how do we handle this? Here are a few of our tips:

      1.Make sure you have a robust holiday policy in place which sets out the rules for requesting
         holidays. Some typical rules include:

  • the basis for approving holidays (typically done on a first-come, first-served basis)
  • limiting holidays to a 2 weeks maximum, at one time (unless there are exceptional circumstances like a wedding, honeymoon etc)
  • specifying whether holiday can be carried over from one year to the next, if so, how many days
  • specifying any particular busy times for the business where employees will not able to take holidays
  • the company’s right to reschedule holidays or propose alternative dates where business needs dictate 

       2. Sharing the employee holiday calendar with the team is one of the easiest and most effective
            ways to avoid holiday scheduling difficulties. It empowers employees to take responsibility
            for avoiding holiday clashes with their colleagues.

       3. If you are having issues with employees not taking enough holidays and wanting to carry
           them over to the next year, think about setting a deadline for when they must have
           submitted all their holiday requests. So if your holiday year runs from January to December,
           you could have a rule that all holidays must be booked by the end of September. That way
           you avoid the mad rush to take holidays just before year-end and won’t need to have difficult
           conversations about carrying holiday over.

      4. For periods where most of your team want to be on holiday at the same time (e.g. between
           Christmas and New Year), the usual first-come, first-serve basis for approving holidays may
           not be the fairest way of managing it.  Instead, you might want to consider pulling names out
           of a hat or rotating who gets to be off each year. For the days in between Christmas and New
           Year, if your business is not busy, you may want to consider shutting down and making it
           mandatory for your employees to take holiday on those days.

      5. Think about how you will cover employee absences. This could be provided by other
           employees or by hiring someone on a temporary basis. For holiday cover to work effectively,
           encourage the employee going on holiday to write a detailed ‘handover’ report, covering work
           in progress, tasks remaining, agreed deadlines, key contacts etc. This is important if
           they are in the middle of an ongoing project.

If you need help with any HR issues, why not get in contact with HR Revolution we will be able to advise you.

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