The school summer holidays are in full swing. Employees with children will likely want time off during this period, if they haven’t had it already.
How should you manage these periods? Can you refuse a holiday request? How do you keep productivity high when the workplace is understaffed?
These are all questions we’ll answer in this HR guide. If you need immediate answers, speak to one of our expert HR consultants on 01455 858 132.
Summer holidays 2022
Managing annual leave
This period is always a hotbed of holiday requests and time off. The school summer holidays in 2022 are no exception. What do you do if you have multiple staff requesting the same days off?
First, you must ask yourself, is this viable for the business? It might be that you aren’t that busy, and having fewer staff in during this period isn’t too much of a strain. If your business is busier during the summer holidays, then you’re going to struggle to accommodate every request.
Legally, you can so “no” to a holiday request. However, you should make sure you have a valid reason for doing so.
The best way to handle this scenario is to have clear policies on the matter. If your employee handbook says that only a certain number of people can take annual leave at a given time, you have established a precedent. A classic approach is to grant holidays on a first-come, first-served basis. This works, but be sure to take any exceptional circumstances into account.
For further tips on managing annual leave requests, see our infographic here.
An understaffed workplace coupled with the hot weather is a breeding ground for demotivation. If you’ve got targets or deadlines to hit, this is difficult to handle. So, how do you maintain productivity?
Offering incentives and relaxing rules during this time can really help boost motivation and morale. It doesn’t have to be costly. Offer overtime, introduce an extended dress-down policy, and invest in a drinks fridge. Little changes can go a long way.
However, sometimes it's not enough to incentivise. If you are short on employees, take a close look at your teams. Is one department struggling while another is overachieving? Could staff in the latter department help with the workload of the former?
Communication is key. Speak to your employees to find out whether their workload is getting too much, and if they have any ideas for how to address it. If you decide on a new approach, let your workforce know in good time so they can adapt.
Legal rights and entitlements
As a reminder, staff are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid holiday, pro-rata. This time doesn’t have to include public or bank holidays. A summer holiday is not (unfortunately) a public holiday. All employees are entitled to holiday from day one of employment.
Employees with fixed pay receive a week’s worth of pay for each week of leave they take. For zero-hour workers, a week's holiday pay is worked out using their average earnings over the previous 52 working weeks.
As for childcare entitlements, staff do have rights. However, employees are allowed time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant. There is no set time for how long this lasts. Lack of childcare might be considered an emergency in some circumstances. However, if employees take longer than is reasonable off work, you may pursue disciplinary action.
Got an HR issue caused by the school holidays in 2022?
The summer holidays can cause a variety of HR issues. Whether it’s overlapping leave requests, reduced productivity, or suspicious sickness absences, it can impact business success.
Having clear policies and procedures will help you manage all of the issues raised above. However, sometimes a more direct approach is needed.
If you’re struggling with your staff during the summer holidays, speak to one of our HR experts for immediate advice today on 01455 858 132.
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