Three things to consider in relation to employee annual leave

With the school summer holidays nearly upon us, many business owners will be preparing for staff taking time off and perhaps even looking forward to taking a break themselves.

As a business owner, there are many things to contemplate in relation to staff holidays, some of which could end up in a tribunal if managed incorrectly. Here are three things to consider:

Be fair across your workforce

It can sometimes happen that a number of staff request dates of annual leave that clash. Short of allowing all of them to have time off simultaneously, leaving the business short-staffed, it will be necessary to refuse at least one person’s request.

If forced to do this, it is vital to be fair and consistent to avoid claims of favouritism or discrimination. Having a policy that requires staff to give a set period of notice when booking annual leave is a sensible approach, as is operating a ‘first come first served’ policy for staff within the same team.

An online HR software package, such as the Breathe HR system offered by KMC HR, can assist managers with planning annual leave across their workforce.

Ensure full allocation is taken

Although you might think that employees are all too eager to take time off work, this is not always the case. In fact some studies suggest that up to one in three employees in the UK fail to take their full allocation of annual leave.

Some employers may be tempted to think this is a good thing, however in the long term, this is unlikely to be the case; tired and overworked staff will probably have low morale and may in fact have a reduced productivity level.

Don’t forget to lead by example – in a recent post, we discussed business owners’ reluctance to take a break and the need to get the ‘house in order’ to enable this to happen. However, employees that see their managers not taking their annual leave may feel obliged to do the same.

Holiday pay

Remember that since a ruling last year, employers need to take into account any regular commission, bonus, or overtime pay when calculating holiday pay. Businesses employing workers eligible for such benefits will need to have made ‘fair and reasonable’ adjustments to relevant employees’ salary in order to comply with the changes.

It is also worth pointing out here that staff who fall ill during a period of annual leave can claim the time back for the effected days. However, in order to do this, the employee would need to have complied with normal sickness reporting policies so make sure you have up-to-date procedures in place. The above outlined points are just a few of the considerations in relation to staff annual leave. For more help or advice on a specific issue, please get in touch with us.