Are you struggling to properly manage your employee’s annual leave now that the warmer months have come around again? Or, perhaps it’s when things get colder and the festive season rolls around that everything feels like it’s up in the air. Whenever it is, as an employer the easiest way to combat large volumes of annual leave requests, or those last minute ones, is to have a proper plan and processes in place to manage them – that means saved time and resources for you and a fair process for your workforce.
Employee Annual Leave
Managing employee annual leave in the workplace can be difficult. There’s a lot you need to consider and manage if you’re the one charged with managing annual leave; there’s managing leave and last-minute requests, ensuring those who need to are aware of upcoming leave so workloads can be managed, monitoring changing leave balances and the fact you need to ensure your team is taking their annual leave!
A study by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) found that 26% of organisations don’t have any system in place to track their employees absences.
If you are one of those struggling businesses then fear not. We’ve put together our top 5 tips for managing employee annual leave.
How To Manage Employee Annual Leave Requests
- Create a Holiday Policy
This one might be the most important. Before you do anything, you’ll first need to create a holiday policy. The holiday policy will outline things like how much leave staff are entitled to, the preferred notice the business needs for leave requests and will include any restrictions such as the amount of people that can be off at a given time from any team, or the maximum length of annual leave in succession unless otherwise agreed.
You may also want to include any of the below tips in your holiday policy, if you go ahead with them too.
- Be Clear About Restrictions
As outline above, you’ll likely have some restrictions when it comes to employee annual leave – we say ‘restrictions’ lightly. It refers to things like how long an employee can have at any one time, unless a longer length is agreed (i.e. two weeks consecutively), or, and this one is important, limitations on the number of employees who can take leave at the same time.
This might be two-fold: the whole business and within a team. The last thing you want is for leave to have been put in throughout the year, then you suddenly get to one week of the year and you find you’re severely short-staffed and the brunt is going to fall on the team members who are still working and can mean disruptions for customers and service.
- Operate a First Come, First Served Process
By using a first come, first served basis you can ensure not only transparency, but also fairness for your employees.
Events such as Christmas, or the children’s school holidays, often mean higher volumes of annual leave requests. If you have clearly communicated they need to book these off in advance to increase the likeliness they’ll get it off, then your system is as fair as it can be.
- Be Clear on Any Company Shutdowns
Many businesses have shutdowns for events such as Christmas, or even weeks mid-year to ensure everyone is adequately rested or can spend time with their loved ones.
If you are going to be one of those businesses, then you will need to clearly indicate this in your holiday policy – particularly if it is going to use up some of your employees annual leave allowance. That means they can account for this when planning their leave for the year ahead.
- Review Your Annual Leave Allowances
Whilst generally the stress surrounding managing employee annual leave stems from the requests themselves, sometimes you need to keep an eye out for those employees that don’t use up their allowance for whatever reason.
As an employer, you are in part responsible for ensuring that your employees are well-rested to avoid undue stress or burnout, so keep an eye on those employees that are slow to take their leave and remember to encourage them to take it.
You should be clear in your holiday policy about how much leave can be carried over too. You don’t want to miss this point and then find you have a number of employees who have carried over large amounts of annual leave with the hope or expectation that they can use it toward sustained periods of time off.
Using Annual Leave Management Software
Implementing and using an annual leave management software can take a huge amount of pressure off you as an employer. Solutions such as these take the onus off you, eliminating the need for masses of emails and spreadsheets and gives you a single source of truth for simplified employee annual leave management.
Breathe HR‘s award-winning tools put you in control of all HR functions while re-centring your people at the heart of your business. It’s the perfect solution for keeping on top of your day-to-day HR tasks, centralising data, and maximising employee engagement. If you’re looking for an efficient way to submit and record leave, Breathe’s holiday tracker gives your employees the ability to request holidays at any time they want and your leadership team can approve in seconds from wherever they are.