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Managing Holiday Requests  

As we approach the summer holiday period, many employees may now begin booking leave and it can be quite common for requests to overlap creating workforce planning challenges.

So how can businesses manage annual leave requests and ensure employees take their entitled leave? 

Ensure you have a Holiday Policy in place  

Companies need to have a strategy in place for dealing with multiple requests as colleagues compete for the most desirable holiday dates. The way organisations handle annual leave can have an impact on both the company and the employees. It is critical to establish thorough and equal protocols and rules so that everyone knows where they stand. Having a Policy that outlines the guidelines on the process of requesting and taking annual leave allows employees to plan their holiday requests in advance. A good approach ensures the Policy is well-organised, well-structured, and well-executed. 

A Policy should also detail the company’s right to refuse holiday requests if it does not suit the needs of the business and who has precedence in requests for the exact dates. If there are disagreements among your staff, you will have to act as the final arbitrator and, while holidays will always be an emotive issue, the clearer your rules are from the beginning, the easier it will be for the team managing these absences. 

Holiday Requests Policy Best Practices 

  1. To ensure equality, use a rota method to determine who gets to select their days off first. 
  2. Employees should be informed about your Policies as soon as they are employed. The boundaries must be clear, and your staff must be aware of their rights and responsibilities. 
  3. Set a deadline for requesting all annual leave. 
  4. Keep track of employees’ annual leave requests, whether they are accepted or denied. This can help identify any patterns and can help track if an employee is taking too much time off.  
  5. Consider any legislation that may have an impact on employees’ rights. 
  6. Maintain consistency and fairness. Ensure that all employees follow guidelines and that there are no favourites. 

Remind employees to take any unused holiday  

Issuing timely reminders to employees to take their allocated annual leave is essential for the company and employees. If employees do not use all annual leave, it can lead to increased stress levels and burnout, which can result in health issues for employees and financial losses for employers.  

A rested and relaxed workplace will result in more motivated and productive employees, and a reduction in sick leave – a clear indicator of stress or fatigue. Staff retention is aided by a more healthy and positive working environment.  

How can organisations encourage employees to make full use of their annual leave? 

  1. Make sure your Holiday Policy is clear and that requesting time off is straightforward.  
  2. Employees must be aware of their holiday entitlements. 
  3. Have a system that is simple to access and that allows them to request time off. 
  4. Regular reminders through internal newsletters, emails and meetings can encourage employees to schedule time off throughout the year. 
  5. Communicating the value of annual leave to all levels of management helps employees avoid feeling that their requests will be dismissed or publicly criticised. 

For more support on managing holiday requests, contact our expert HR team today. 

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