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Annual Leave - 5 Ways to Manage Summer Leave Requests

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The big problem with vacation requests in summer.

Summer is finally here, British Summer Time has already begun and schools and colleges across the country are counting down to the big summer holidays.

That's great if you work in academia and have an academic calendar, but what about the thousands (if not millions) of companies that don't have one?

Applications for annual leave for July and August (excluding Christmas) are increasing significantly. Parents who need to arrange child care are usually the first to submit their applications, and many colleagues soon follow - simply because it's summer!

So how can companies adequately manage the influx of annual leave requests without disrupting operations?

Follow our 5 easy methods to manage summer vacation requests

Step 1: Annual leave policy

It sounds simple, but a structured annual leave policy is the first rule of fair annual leave management.

Whether you're a start-up, a small business or a global organization, an annual leave policy should be one of the first things you manage - after all, every employee is entitled to annual leave.

Regardless of your company's annual leave entitlement, you should ensure that it is documented. Do all full-time employees have the same number of vacation days? Does your company have weekends and public holidays so that annual leave has to be taken at different times? Are you an accounting practice that doesn't need to take annual leave at the end of March/beginning of April due to the tax calendar? Whatever policy you have, make sure it is documented.

7 considerations that should be taken into account when formulating an annual leave policy;

  1. The statutory holiday entitlement in the UK, including public holidays, is 28 days (assuming a normal five-day week).
  2. As an employer, you may choose to pay for additional days to improve employee benefits, but this is not mandatory.
  3. Consider whether annual leave increases with length of service.
  4. Consider part-time workers and workers with irregular working hours; the holiday entitlement must be calculated proportionately.
  5. Consider your work processes and your peak times: Should annual vacation be taken in the week with the busiest workload? Holiday entitlement may be restricted outside of these times. Employees do not automatically have the right to choose when they take their annual leave.
  6. Consider how many employees can take vacation at any given time and set a maximum number to minimize the impact on the company.
  7. Set a notice period. If you have written that any annual leave must be requested at least xx days in advance of submission, this will give you time to think about the business needs before approving it.

Step 2: Consider the company goals and deliverables

Could you do it if all or most of your employees requested two weeks of vacation in the summer? Could your business operate with minimal impact on delivery? If yes, then use this to your advantage. For example, many manufacturing sectors have a two-week closure in the summer. The reason for this is that this industry is quiet and dependent on a supply chain. Therefore, it is easier to provide annual leave when the company is calm from both a customer and supply chain perspective.

If your company does the exact opposite and has its peak sales in the summer, this should also be taken into account when determining annual leave. Employees do not automatically have the right to choose when they take their annual leave.

If, like many companies, there are no peaks or lean periods in the summer, but you are still affected by the demand for annual leave, you should consider how many employees in the department or company as a whole are needed to provide the required benefits provide, and consider a "Only 2, 4, 5 vacation days in any period". Here too, employees do not have the right to decide for themselves when they take their annual leave.

Step 3: First come, first served

There is no hard and fast rule for approving vacation requests, especially during busy periods like summer, but you can always consider the golden rule of first come, first served, especially if you follow the rule. Do not use more than ".

Again, there is no easy way to treat requests fairly, but if all employees have the same vacation entitlement at the same time of year, a first come, first served basis is usually acceptable to everyone.

Just remember that the employees who submit their applications first get their turn first. Do they always submit their applications and ask for the most important weeks off in the summer? Consider a rotation system to ensure that other team members are not upset if their colleague always has the most important weeks of the summer off.

Step 4 Planning ahead

When applications for annual leave are received, you should pay attention to the notice period. Was it announced a week in advance? Two, three or four? The longer the notice period, the better you can plan for the employee's absence. If you have a written policy for annual leave, one of the most important points should be a reasonable notice period.

If you know ahead of time that your employees will be on vacation during the summer, which will likely extend from early July to mid-September, you can plan goals and deliverables around (or outside of) those months. For example, if you release one employee every week during this time and are working with a thin staffing level, it would be pointless to plan additional tasks such as events.

Step 5: File management

Another simple step, but easily overlooked by busy departments. Does your company have an easy-to-use leave management system, typically part of a comprehensive HR software solution, that HR, managers and employees can easily access?

Cloud-based HR systems like IceHrm Leave management system streamline leave requests and document days in a team calendar so they're easier to see for everyone.

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