There are many implications of the Coronavirus pandemic on businesses, one of which is the situation with holiday requests at work. One important point to note is that employees who have been furloughed will still accrue their holidays. This realistically means that they could be off work for months, return and book a holiday. It can be difficult to manage these requests, especially when making the slow return to work after lockdown. As the summer starts and holiday resorts open, you can bet that the holiday requests will start to stack up.
These are some tips for managing your holiday requests at work after lockdown.
Holiday during furlough
It may be pertinent to stipulate that furloughed employees take some holiday before they return to work. You will be required to pay them full pay for any holiday so you will need to consider your circumstances. Enforced holiday will be cost effective in the long run as you can continue to claim job retention scheme grant for staff on holiday during furlough periods.
Understand Your Workload
It is natural to want to give all your staff holidays when they request them, after all, we could all be doing with a break! However, you must be still able to fulfil the needs of your business and if you have a barrage of holiday requests on your desk, you mustn’t leave yourself understaffed. Take some time to understand your requirements and reach an arrangement with your employees to ensure you are covered.
Consider Welfare of Employees
You may find that some employees have worked all the way through the lockdown but are reluctant to take holidays before the lockdown is fully lifted. Employees that work 5 days a week are entitled to 28 days paid holiday each year (as a minimum) and they must be taking time to rest and recuperate. It is one of the responsibilities of an employer to ensure employees are not carrying over all their holidays to the next year, especially if they have not been on furlough, as this suggests they have not had adequate rest.
Prioritise Your Workforce
You may want to consider prioritising those employees that have worked through the lockdown. Although you should manage this on a case-by-case basis. Some employees may have been on furlough but have had to home school or look after a loved one, so it is by no means a ‘one size fits all’ rule. Communication is key and understanding the concerns of your employees is just as important as ensuring the workload is covered, when it comes to dealing with holiday requests at work.
It is safe to say there will need to be some requirement for carrying holidays forward this year, either because demands have been such that it has not been possible to take holidays, or employees have been on furlough. Employees must be getting the required rest, but depending on business needs, you may want to consider a bit of flexibility with carrying holidays forward to next year.
There is a new government law in place that states employees should be allowed to carry forward 4 weeks’ paid holiday if they have continued working and could not take holidays (particularly prevalent for social care staff) or they have had to self-isolate or had Coronavirus and not been able to take their holidays.
Holiday management using HR Software.
Managing holiday is altogether much easier if you have an HR software in place, and the time savings made in holiday management alone are a great cost saving. Please go to https://bluetreehrsolutions.co.uk/hr-software/ for more information on our software options. With a free demo account available to anyone interested.
If you have any concerns over holiday entitlement and how to deal with requests, you can contact us, and we will be happy to discuss the options available to you.