The mumbles start. Tempers flare. “Why can’t I take my holiday? I’m entitled to it,” are the cries you may hear as an employer or HR manager. If only they understood that three other people applied for leave months ago for the same period. Approving more leave applications would send the office into chaos! These can be the stresses of leave management.
Managing holiday leave can throw you into a tizzy. Take a deep breath. Before you blow a blood vessel, here are some tips that you can use to fairly allocate annual leave with our guide to leave management.
Discuss annual holiday each year
Tell each employee how much leave they can have at the beginning of the year. Get your numbers right. Full-time UK employees are entitled to at least 5.6 weeks paid leave. Part-time employees are entitled to 12.07 percent of each hour worked. You company may provide additional leave based on tenure. This should also be added.
Related article: How to calculate holiday entitlement
The holiday policy should also be clear and readily accessible. Encourage employees to apply for their leave early so that it can be approved. This leads to the next point...
Create and consistently implement a leave application policy
Your leave application policy must be the same across the board. Tension will mount if employees perceive inconsistencies. For instance, if your policy is that employees should apply for their leave three months prior to an anticipated absence, you shouldn’t grant leave to someone who applies the week before unless it’s an emergency.
Related article: Holiday leave notice: how to manage holiday requests
Anticipate holiday clashes and mediation
Employees will be at odds with each other if the days that they apply for leave happen to clash. A fallout may ensue if you don't handle the situation before it reaches a head between employees. You can act as the mediator and help both parties come to an amicable decision.
Helping employees work better with each other as an effective team is another solution. However, this should be an ongoing initiative, not just something that’s done because of a holiday clash. Team building and fun activities should be a part of your HR team’s plans.
Communicate your leave management decisions
Let employees know why you have rejected their holiday request. You should also inform team leaders when you approve leave. You can do this through an online notification system to which managers can respond.
Furthermore, the approval process doesn’t involve too many team leaders. The more team leaders involved, the longer the process takes. A good rule of thumb is to assign someone to manage leave authorisation. This person would consult the relevant team leaders to verify the approval. You should then send final approval to other managers via your online holiday management system. These managers can then present any issues before you tell the employee you have approved their leave.
The final word on leave management
Holiday leave approval doesn’t have to be a headache. It boils down to creating an efficient leave management system that involves fair treatment and consistent communication. Ensure that all employees clearly understand the system and give timely feedback about their requests.
If all else fails and you need to cancel a holiday, read our guide to cancelling annual leave to find out how to do this smoothly for better employee relations and to avoid disputes.
Written by Fiona Sanderson
Fiona is Marketing Manager at myhrtoolkit. Her areas of expertise include HR systems, productivity, employment law updates, and creating HR infographics.