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Managing Staff through the Summer Holidays

Summer, like Christmas, is one of those crunch periods when many employees compete for limited blocks of time away. So now is a good time to share some ideas for managing your staff through the summer holidays.





 

Ensure you have an annual leave policy

This is the most basic step but it is worth checking you have one written down. While there are statutory rules you have to adhere to, whether you have a policy or not, your policy will guide you and your staff in how annual leave works in your business.


For example, how do you prioritise annual leave? 


First come, first served is a pretty fair way to do this, but there are other methods, such as a rota system. Your annual leave policy may explain minimum staffing requirements, or busy times when leave will be refused for everyone. Conversely, it may include a shutdown, when everyone must take some of their annual leave.

 

Consider using HR software

If you still need to start using HR software to manage annual leave, you will consider it a godsend when you try it out. It will keep track of all annual leave, letting employees self-serve their requests, and giving you an easy way to approve or decline them.



Managing School Holidays


One of the main factors in certain times of year being more popular than others is school holidays, and the need for working parents to look after their children, including taking them away. There are other leave entitlements that can be used if they run out of annual leave – most specifically Unpaid Parental Leave.

This entitles parents to up to four weeks a year (taken in whole week blocks and normally capped at 18 weeks in total per child before their 18th birthday). They must have worked for you for one year to qualify and give 21 days’ notice. You can ask them to postpone it if there is a good business reason, but if it relates to school holidays they may have little choice.


For those who have a caring need which differs from childcare – say someone with a disability or an elderly relative – Carer’s Leave could be an option. This entitles employees to take up to a week per year as unpaid leave as a day one right. It can be taken as a whole week or in as little as half-day increments.

Another form of leave – Dependents’ Leave – is not an appropriate mechanism for the summer break as it is limited to unforeseen circumstances, not long-anticipated school holidays. 


A longer-term solution could be designing term-time-only flexible roles.

 

Have reserve staff on standby

One way to keep your business staffed during the peak holiday season is to develop a reserve of experienced staff who can stand in. This could be through a relationship with a temping agency, suppliers who have additional resources to pick up the slack or perhaps staff who have retired but would appreciate a little work on the side.


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