POSTED: May 10 2018
Annual Leave Requests & how to manage them

Annual Leave Requests & how to manage them

With bank holidays and the summer term beginning at schools and colleges, and a bout of hot weather, many of your employees may be thinking about booking annual leave. We explain the employer’s and employee’s rights relating to booking of holiday and some useful tips on managing requests. We also advise you on considerations with regards to the position taken on bank/public holidays, always a contentious issue.

Annual leave requests may significantly increase over the next few months. Therefore the importance of managing annual leave requests fairly without impacting on the business deliverables is something that all employers should be prepared for.


Annual Leave Policy

Make sure you have a structured annual leave policy in place.

Points to consider and be included in an annual leave policy should include:

  • UK statutory holiday entitlement including Bank Holidays is 28 days (if a standard five day week is worked)
  • You can choose to pay for additional days as an enhanced employee benefit.
  • Consider whether annual leave increases due to the length of service.
  • Consider part-time and irregular hour’s workers; holiday entitlements need to be pro-rata.
  • Consider your peak periods of activity. Holiday entitlement can be restricted during busier periods, within legitimate business reasons.
  • Consider how many employees could be on annual leave at any time and set a maximum.
  • Set a notice period, if you have written that all annual leave requires a minimum of xx days before submission, this will allow time to reflect on the business needs before approving.
  • A provision for what happens if an employee cancels his or her holiday at short notice, for example by obliging the employee to take those booked days if they have not provided a certain amount of notice. This may be valuable to a company who may have already sought cover for the period.
  • How you will manage requests fairly, but if all employees are given the same holiday entitlement at the same time of year, a first-come first served approach is usually agreeable to all. A rotation system could help diminish any disgruntled feelings if their colleague always gets to have the main weeks off summer off.

Encourage employees to take annual leave

Build-up of annual leave that is not spread out over the year can be problematic for employers. Encourage employees to plan and take annual leave, to help maintain employees’ health and motivation.
Be proactive in the management of holiday by regularly reviewing the leave booked, taken and untaken. If an employee has not taken any holiday or submitted any holiday dates by the middle of the holiday year, to request holiday dates as a matter of urgency.

Forward Planning

If you have sufficient notice of employees on holiday over the summer, and it will probably stretch from the beginning of July right through to mid-September, you can plan objectives and deliverables around (or away) from these months.

Absence Management Recording

HR Absence management systems are a great way of managing leave, the employee could log on and see how many days remaining they have. A simple process, that certainly avoids the disappointment of declined annual leave requests and reduces the paperwork involved in submitting and refusing.