How To Effectively Plan Staff Holiday Requests


The law stipulates that workers are entitled to a minimum of 5.9 weeks of paid leave annually. It might be strategically beneficial for the employees, but it creates a challenge for the employers as they struggle to manage staff holidays while also considering the business’ needs.

For your company to operate without hiccups, below are some tips on how to manage staff holidays effectively.

1) Come Up With A Detailed Holiday Policy

For employers, managers, and workers to understand how holiday leave can be implemented in the workplace, there is a need for a holiday policy to be in place. The holiday breaks are a right that employees are entitled to; still, various businesses apply different rules and requirements that help to inform their staff of these by instituting a central policy.

Moreover, employers and managers should understand the regulations regarding when to approve or deny holiday leave requests. The holiday policy can include the following:

  • The leave days for the holiday an employee is to take – does it run for several weeks, months, or a year.
  • The terms for leave dates for part-time workers
  • The maximum amount of leave an employee can request or is entitled to in one holiday period.
  • The rules regarding carrying over the holiday to a later leave year and the maximum carryover.

Furthermore, the policy must outline the exact process for the booking procedure to be followed, stating how much notice the staff is required to give, i.e., one month’s notice for a week’s leave or more. It also should stipulate how to submit the request.

For instance, make sure that every employee follows the same process for holiday booking to avoid complaints regarding requests going missing or unfair approvals and refusals. Apply this rule, whether you are using an online system or a paper booking form. As a result, any annual leave requests that fail to adhere to this process and thus gives insufficient notice can be rejected on this ground.

2) Specify When Holiday Leaves Can Be Taken

For the good of the company and its success, employers will have rules regarding when workers can take their holiday leave. Some industries or professional fields have busy periods during specific points of the year. During such periods, employers need every staff member present to meet the needs of the business.

For instance, it could be during the summer, Easter, or Christmas weeks or a season when demand for products or services is high. Employers can restrict holiday leaves during such busy times, and this should be stated in the holiday policy. Therefore, the employer can deny a leave request submitted during such periods.

Additionally, the company might have a shutdown period in which no work goes on; it can be when business is low due to reduced customer demand or a traditional practice over Christmas. The employer can expect the workers to use the holiday dates they are entitled to over these times. But there must be adequate information on the holiday policy detailing the modalities followed regarding shutdowns.

Holiday caps are also another strategy that employers can manage the level of holiday requests. They specify how many members of staff can take leave at the same time. This can be set according to departments and per team across the entire workforce. The holiday caps also must be outlined in the policy. The employers could be entitled to reject additional requests once the cap is reached.

3) Canceling Holiday Leaves

At times, employers and managers can find themselves in a position where they approved a leave request but discover they need the employee to be present during the same period. Such a scenario is where the staff member is part of the team handling a project that has a tight deadline, and something has happened near its completion that the specific employer is best suited to address.

In this scenario, the employer can cancel the approved holiday leave if they issue the correct notice to the worker. A notice to cancel the holiday should have the same length as the authorized period for the holiday leave. For example, if the employee’s holiday consent was for a week, the employer must give the notice at least a week for the cancellation.

And while employers can cancel holiday but within legal/reasonable grounds, it is an action that is likely to have the employees disgruntled and cause them to suffer some financial losses. However, employers must ensure they give a sound reason before canceling, and ensure they have considered all alternatives before taking this action, such as requesting other employees to work overtime.

A Quick Guide To Planning Holiday Leaves

To keep the company from finding itself in a situation where the workers have booked leave at the same time, employers must take a proactive approach in managing the holiday leaves. They should review the employee attendance and leave schedule against the business’ operational needs. It will help them know which staff members have built a significant amount of leave or submitted the most requests.

Employers should send periodic reminders to their workers regarding the leave requests left and how they can book so that they use their allotted holiday time prudently instead of carrying them over to the final months of their leave year.

A holiday management system must be in place. If the company has a small workforce, it can manage their holiday schedules with ease using an online calendar or physical diary shared across the management and staff members.

Some of the larger businesses might opt to use an online holiday management system that can include a mobile-based app for tracking leave-rates like Tracktime24. Irrespective of the preferred method, the employer and employees should have access to the system for proper planning or the holiday leave.


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