Christmas is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year. It’s got singing, dancing, and quite possibly the best food and drink. However, because of this people don’t necessarily want to spend the festive period in work. Some businesses don’t close over Christmas… So how do you manage holiday requests without upsetting your employees?
First come, first served
The first, and probably most fair, way to manage holiday requests is to have a clause within your policy. The ‘First Come, First Served’ policy. Make employees aware that only a certain amount of people are allowed a specific day off. Make it clear that those who book that day first will be granted it off. This number will vary depending on the size of your business.
However, it may be worth adding to this clause that only a limited number of holiday requests will be granted within December. This allows employees to have the time off that they deserve, but also encourages fairness. It ensures that if employees do want time off, then it’s not been booked up by one or two individuals.
Let employees decide
A second way that you can manage holidays over Christmas is to simply have a meeting with your employees. You can inform them of the work you require. This will give them an better picture of who needs to remain.
You can then give employees the chance to talk amongst themselves as to what days that they would like or need off and agree together what works best for them. This allows people to have the time off that they would like. It also demonstrates respect and involves them in decisions, which can be great for team morale.
A third way that could be applicable to some companies is the option to work from home on certain days if they are not able to have that day off for any reason or have a flexible approach to the working hours.
This could be a way to work with the employee so that the work will still get completed however, it can cut travel time or allow the employee to leave an hour earlier to get to an event etc. This can show that you have a flexible approach which is appealing to employees, and it can also have a sense of appreciation and trust which is extremely valued at Christmas time.
A fourth way could be to offer incentives or rewards for those who do not book any time off at Christmas or do not get the holiday that they initially wanted. This could be a small bonus, priority booking for another month, or early leave. If you’re unsure on what rewards can be used and when, you might want to consider talking to a company like Wurkplace. Rewards can be a dangerous thing when handled incorrectly, to ensure compliance it’s often good to get an outside opinion.
A fifth way could be to implement a rotating schedule each year. It could be that one year a certain team / department or person will get certain days off and then this will be rotated each year. For example, one person may be allowed Christmas Eve off and Boxing Day off and then the next year will have to work these.
New starters and leavers need to be considered – it could be an employee starts and has to work over the holiday period for the next two years purely due to the year starting so caution needs to be taken with this one.
You should always deal with disputes fairly – never prioritise staff for a personal reason or a reason that is due to a protected characteristic. If you do, they can then file a discrimination case against you.
That is why it is so important to have a clear and consistent procedure and policy in place regarding booking and granting holiday requests. If you need more information on this topic, or you need support, please get in touch. You can contact us via our online form, or give us a call on: 0330 400 5490
Currently practising all the aspects of Human Resources including employee rights, discrimination, how to manage grievances and disciplinaries.