Sun comes out, holiday requests flood in?

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04 Aug 2016

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Are your employees lying in wait for a sunny week off this summer? You may find that you are inundated with last minute holiday requests – or higher than usual levels of absence. We all want to enjoy the sunshine, but when you’re inundated with requests, how do you best manage them?

And what happens if someone in your organisation is regularly ‘sick’ when the sun comes out? Here are our top tips for managing holiday requests:

  • Have a policy in place with guidelines for granting holiday requests, stating that all employees will be treated equally, but personal circumstances may be considered.
  • Family commitments will not automatically grant an employee permission to take annual leave, although an employer may take this into account in an attempt to be fair and reasonable.
  • The employer can refuse a holiday request if there is a genuine business reason, such as the need for the work to be done or the premises to be supervised.
  • If several employees wish to take their holiday at the same time, employers should include in their policy how this will be dealt with (e.g. ‘first-come-first-served’, asking for volunteers to work, a yearly rota system or random selection).
  • Employers should not refuse holiday for disciplinary purposes, as this should be treated as a separate matter.
  • Employers should be seen to be actively adopting their holiday policy to help avoid accusations of discrimination.

In terms of absence, employers should have an absence management policy which should include procedures for: monitoring absence, taking appropriate action, recording and reporting absences and requirements for early notification of sickness absence, the completion of self-certification forms and the provision of fit notes and medical reports.

Where an employer suspects that an employee is pulling a ‘sickie’ then they should take suitable action with the employee. Having an Employee Self Service system that allows staff to request their own holidays for line manager approval can also be invaluable, as this takes the holiday booking process away from HR and can speed it up dramatically.

It is also useful to have a system that monitors unauthorised absence patterns and takes these into consideration with allocating holidays to ensure that there is sufficient staff coverage across all departments. If you are facing any such issues, let our experts help you. Call 0800 032 4088.

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