How to Manage Employee Holiday RequestsEnsure your business stays staffed over the holidays

Almost all UK employees are entitled to 28 days holiday—the equivalent of 5.6 weeks off.

Classed as statutory leave, this also includes agency workers, employees on zero-hour contracts, and those who work irregular hours.

To promote staff wellbeing and improve your company culture, it is vital to ensure that your employees are taking time off.

But, during a busy working week where you may experience staff shortages or holiday clashes, how do you manage multiple leave requests fairly?

Here are the answers, along with some ways to make managing leave requests easier for you and your business.

Create a clear policy

Having a clear annual leave policy in place will avoid management headaches as it sets boundaries and restrictions to ensure that holidays are taken fairly and respectfully. A clear policy should include the following:

  • How to request a holiday

  • Who can approve a holiday

  • Rules for notice periods

  • What you expect from peak periods or days that cannot be booked off

  • If some employees have priority over others

  • If specific employees have holidays that cannot clash

  • If outstanding leave can be carried over into the next period

As a manager, or leave approver, if a holiday request goes against what is written within your policy, you are within your rights to decline the request.

It will be down to your discretion to decide what’s best for your staff and for your business.

Be aware of holiday request clashes

When it comes to managing employee holiday requests, one of the most common issues are situations where multiple workers request the same days off.

Typically, the fairest way to manage such a situation is to operate on a first come first served basis.

With smart-shift technology, such as Findmyshift, potential conflicts from clashes can be avoided as you are able to keep holiday requests and approvals fully private.

However, it can also be prudent to allow employees to sort out their own holiday clashes.

Allowing shift swapping will not only make everyone’s lives a bit easier, but it will also empower your staff and reduce your to-do list.

Set restrictions

In many customer facing industries, you will always need a minimum number of workers at any time to keep up with demands.

If this is the case for your business, then you will need to set a limit on how many employees can be on holiday at once.

With Findmyshift, employee holidays are displayed directly on the rota, allowing you to know who is or isn’t available when approving leave.

Incorporating such smart shift technology like this into your business may prevent leave management headaches.

For small businesses, having an employee take months off at a time can cause you and their fellow employees a lot of issues. You may also wish to set restrictions on how many days off an employee is allowed to have in one stint.

Enforce notice periods

When giving notice for a holiday, the general rule is to give a period that is at least twice as long as the amount of leave the worker wants to take, plus one day.

For example, for a day’s leave, a worker must give 3 days’ notice.

However, it will be down to you to decide the boundary within your policy. Typically, the longer notice the better, to give you time to organise cover.

Equally, if you are to refuse a leave request, you should provide an adequate notice period—one equal to the amount of leave requested, plus one day.

If an employee fails to give you proper notice, you may say no. However, it is important to consider the reasons as to why an employee is giving such short notice.

Choose an effective management system

Believe it or not, many businesses still use pen and paper to create their rotas, leaving much room for error and confusion.

The most effective way to manage your rotas and employee holidays is to implement smart-shift technology.

A system such as Findmyshift will allow you to create and adjust rotas efficiently whilst also bestowing you with multiple other benefits.

For example, whether it’s a new holiday request, a date change, or cancellation, Findmyshift will send email notifications, text messages, and push notifications, ensuring that everyone who needs to know will be notified.

Additionally, you’ll also be able to delegate your approval responsibilities to other members of your team.

This will not only make managing holiday requests that bit easier, but it will also free up more time for you to focus on other aspects of your business.

As over 1/3 of employees say their mental health affects their productivity on a weekly basis, it is vital to ensure that workers take their holidays, allowing for both physical and mental respite.

By implementing these practices into your holiday management process, and setting an example yourself, you can ensure that holiday requests are dealt with fairly and successfully.

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