The holidays are coming
By: Helen Busfield, HR Adviser Date: 24 August 2017
With the summer holidays almost over, the rush to book Christmas holiday begins. Annual leave plays a crucial role in your employee’s work-life balance and their overall wellbeing. It is important to have a structure in place when managing holiday requests, so both employee and employer understand what acceptable practice is.
Organisations are legally required, under the Working time regulations 1998 (WTR), to provide full-time employees with 28 days holiday as a statutory minimum entitlement. This amount can include bank holidays (20 days plus public holidays) or just be a total. Bank holiday arrangement tends to depend on your industry, and whether employees are required to work bank holidays or not. Please note, part-time worker holiday amounts should be pro-rated.
Working time regulations are a health and safety measure, not a benefit for employees. You may choose to offer an enhanced holiday as a benefit, for example entitlement could increase with length of service.
It is important you have policies and procedures in place to provide clarity, equality and structure when managing holiday requests. These should be written somewhere accessible, either in your staff handbook or contract. This should outline how employees should submit requests, how many consecutive days can be booked off at one time and how much notice they need to provide as a minimum.
Many organisations ask their staff to take time off at a specific time of the year. It needs to be included in your policy that it is expected employees should allocate enough days to cover this period.
To provide oversight for your team, perhaps consider using a diary where everyone can see who already has annual leave authorised, and when. Most organisations operate on a first come first served basis, but if managing your team’s workload is unbalanced, employers have the right to decline a holiday request or even cancel them at a later date, if it is crucial to business needs.
However, it is important you have considered all other options before cancelling a scheduled holiday and provide as much notice as the individual had planned to take off work.
Be transparent and consistent with your approach in approving annual leave, to maintain a happy work force while keeping business needs a priority.
For further advice on HR queries please contact our dedicated HR Consultancy team on 01603 663300.