You may have noticed that since the sun has made an appearance, those holiday requests are piling high as your staff are eager to get their leave signed off before they blink and miss the British summer, and who can blame them? Who knows how long it will last. Nice weather, school holidays, using up entitlement and extending bank holidays are all common reasons that can lead to an influx of annual leave requests and we recognise that holiday management isn’t always easy. Read our step-by-step guide below to help you establish a process that works for you and your team.

Step 1 – be prepared with a detailed policy

Our most important tip would be to make sure you’re managing annual leave fairly by having a clear, detailed policy. As well as helping to avoid confusion, it will ensure everyone is made aware of their entitlement. It’s also important to consider including other guidelines such as:

  • The approvals process and advance notice required
  • How to calculate the pro rata entitlement for employees that work part-time
  • The maximum number of consecutive days to be booked at one time

Having a documented policy means there is a reference point for you and your employees and so it is the perfect platform for you to note if there are any peak times for your business where you’d like to avoid leave being taken, or how many members of staff can be off at one time – perhaps it would be worth setting a limit. Our top tip: If you’re often inundated with multiple requests at busy times it might be worth considering a rotation system, particularly if you have lots of members of staff requesting school holidays off, to ensure a system that is fair for everyone and to avoid any disagreements. Don’t forget: You might want to also think about adding other benefits too, such as other types of paid leave for special circumstances.

Step 2 – Have you thought about the benefits of a broader policy?

If you’re thinking about giving your holiday policy a makeover it might also be the right time to think about creating a broader policy which covers all categories of leave such as:

  • Time off to care for family or dependents
  • Emergency leave
  • Compassionate leave
  • Public duties such as jury duty
  • Time off for members of the reserved armed forces

Many of these types of leave are covered by Government guidelines where time off must be granted for certain duties, and so without meaning to be annoyingly repetitive – we would like to echo step 1 and how important we believe being prepared is. In the words of Benjamin Franklin: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.

Step 3 – It’s all about the planner

Having a central planner that records holiday is useful for everyone and this can be done the old fashioned paper way – stuck to a wall where everyone can see, a fancy excel spreadsheet visible to all, or an online platform that can easily help you manage your company holiday calendar. Before committing to using a holiday management software it’s worth considering the pros and cons to this method. The obvious disadvantage is that sometimes software can be costly but on the flipside it’s worth weighing up whether you’d like to take advantage of data analytics and forecasting features, and most usefully; the ability for your employees to log in and manage their own leave, sending a request, viewing the full leave calendar and their remaining entitlement.  If you need advice on sourcing HR software that is right for you, contact Reality HR today.

In summary: we believe that the basis to effective holiday management is a detailed policy and we have been instrumental in creating Leave Policies for our clients for over 14 years. For advice on how to develop your existing policy or to start from scratch – contact the Reality HR team today on: 01256 328428 or email: