This month the schools break up for the summer holidays, and for many of us, our thoughts will turn to having a bit of time off from work ourselves. No doubt you’ve already booked your annual leave, or maybe like some you are leaving it to the last minute. Whatever your preference, did you know that it’s not your employer’s responsibility to ensure you take all your designated entitlement?
Holiday works in much the same way as breaks – you are legally entitled to them, and your employer should do everything practical to ensure that they are taken by facilitating the process. However, it is not up to them to keep track of how much you have left, and how long you have to use it.
That said, the last thing an employer wants is a disgruntled employee who suddenly realises, all too late, that they have 10 days left to take, and 2 days in which to take them. That is never going to help towards a harmonious working environment.
How then can an employer help when it comes to making sure everyone knows where they stand? Here are our top tips:
Make it clear and simple
One of the easiest things you can do make sure your employees are taking the holidays they are entitled to is setting up a simple to use holiday request process. Make sure that everyone fully understands what they need to, and when they need to do it by. Equally, make sure that your policy is easily available to them should they need to check up on it at any point.
If you make any changes to the policy, alert everyone ahead of time so that they always know where they stand. The easier you make it, and the more uniform it is, the less chance there is for any confusion later down the line.
Make sure people know how much they have
When you have a new starter, make sure they are fully aware of how much holiday they are entitled to from the day they start. Is this based on a calendar or tax year? Does it start from the day they commence their employment, or is it calculate pro rata?
How can people find out how much holiday they have left? Will their line managers be able to access this information, or will they be able to log-on to their own HR account and ascertain for themselves? Don’t make it difficult for people to check what remains of their entitlement.
Is it possible for you to provide a calendar to staff (perhaps a wall planner) that will show when other members of staff are on annual leave. It doesn’t need to have people’s names, merely that some dates are no longer available to choose for staffing level purposes. If people start to see popular times of year filling up, they are more likely to act quickly.
Set up reminders
Why not send out a quarterly reminder to all members of staff to ensure they take their holiday? Alternatively, you may want to contact individuals to remind them how much they have left, and how long they have left to take it.
The possibility of the latter will depend largely on what processes and systems you have in place for monitoring this in the first place.
Here at People Matters we can not only advise on the best way to manage such processes, but we can also set you up with BreatheHR. This can help you manage all your absence, sickness and holiday reporting and entitlement with easy access for all.
To find out more, just get in touch.