How do I or­gan­ise hol­i­day leave for my team in busy pe­ri­ods with­out cre­at­ing bad vibes?

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - Caro­line Mcenery

HAVE a small team of re­ally great em­ploy­ees and all of them go be­yond the call of duty in their jobs. Most of them have chil­dren of school-go­ing age and there is go­ing to be a rush of peo­ple book­ing hol­i­days for the sum­mer. How do I al­lo­cate hol­i­days fairly? Should it be first come, first served? Or should I in­tro­duce an­other sys­tem? The last thing I want is to cre­ate bad feel­ing among them. one week from Septem­ber 1 to De­cem­ber 1.

This en­sures the busy pe­ri­ods, such as Christ­mas, are not af­fected by hol­i­days.

What­ever pol­icy you have in place, it’s im­por­tant to en­sure you take rea­son­able ac­count of the em­ployee’s need to rec­on­cile work and fam­ily re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and the op­por­tu­nity for rest and recre­ation avail­able to the em­ployee. Bear in mind dif­fer­ent em­ploy­ees will have dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances and re­quire­ments with re­gard to tak­ing leave.

Em­ploy­ees with chil­dren can be very re­stricted with times and it’s im­por­tant to try to fa­cil­i­tate this where pos­si­ble.

It is im­por­tant to give ev­ery­one a fair chance to take leave at the time they want and that all em­ploy­ees’ cir­cum­stances are fa­cil­i­tated as far as pos­si­ble.

Most com­pa­nies will op­er­ate on a first-come, first-served ba­sis — but, where pos­si­ble, set out the pop­u­lar times of leave so em­ploy­ees know which dates are likely to book up quickly. En­cour­age staff to con­sider when mak­ing re­quests, if they can pos­si­bly take leave at dif­fer­ent times.

It’s im­por­tant you con­sider all re­quests and that re­fusal is not im­me­di­ate if there have been a lot of book­ings.

Con­sider is the busi­ness busy at this time? Can I let more than usual on leave dur­ing the sum­mer months as busi­ness is qui­eter?

If you find al­low­ing hol­i­days at cer­tain times like Christ­mas and Easter is prob­lem­atic, sit down with em­ploy­ees and dis­cuss them tak­ing the an­nual leave dur­ing these times on a ro­ta­tional ba­sis.

This would al­low a num­ber of em­ploy­ees to take leave at Christ­mas and the oth­ers at New Year for ex­am­ple, and vice versa the fol­low­ing year.

At this meet­ing you can also dis­cuss an­nual leave al­lowances dur­ing the busy sum­mer pe­ri­ods and that the com­pany will fa­cil­i­tate hol­i­days as far as prac­ti­ca­ble con­sid­er­ing that this is the most pop­u­lar time for tak­ing time off.

These days some or­gan­i­sa­tions pro­vide em­ploy­ees with ad­di­tional an­nual leave, in ex­cess of the le­gal en­ti­tle­ment. These ad­di­tional en­ti­tle­ments maybe at the dis­cre­tion of the em­ployer.

Al­ter­na­tively some com­pa­nies may op­er­ate an an­nual leave pur­chase scheme to pro­vide em­ploy­ees with ad­di­tional flex­i­bil­ity in re­spect of planned time off work. This ben­e­fit can help an or­gan­i­sa­tion at­tract and re­tain staff.

This an­nual leave is un­paid — the cost is de­ducted from an em­ployee’s salary over their an­nual leave year.

These meth­ods en­cour­age work-life bal­ance where em­ploy­ees can in­crease their amount of an­nual leave en­ti­tle­ment by an ex­tra cou­ple of weeks per year.

So if an em­ployee takes four weeks an­nual leave and four weeks pur­chased leave, they are paid for the equiv­a­lent of 48 weeks of the year, but pay­ment is spread out evenly over the full 52 weeks.

It is a good idea to in­clude in the an­nual leave pol­icy that em­ploy­ees are re­quired to sub­mit their ap­pli­ca­tions at the be­gin­ning of that year. This makes it eas­ier to plan and sched­ule work around the ab­sences, and to cal­cu­late and spread out the re­duced rate of re­mu­ner­a­tion. Caro­line Mcenery, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of The HR Suite, is a mem­ber of the Low Pay Com­mis­sion and is an ad­ju­di­ca­tor in the Work­place Re­la­tions Com­mis­sion

Keep­ing all staff happy when they are want­ing to book hol­i­days can be a big chal­lenge

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