Christmas is inevitably one of the most popular periods for employees to request off. No one wants to be an Ebenezer Scrooge but how do you handle lots of different people wanting time off?
More importantly how do you manage these conversations, which could be awkward if you have to turn their request down? For instance, a conversation handled badly – “I’ve given Jane the time off as she has a family” – could result in a discrimination claim.
Adopt a system and apply it consistently
To avoid issues such as resentment from staff or potential discrimination claims it’s important to have systems in place like the below:
• A first come first served system is objective and although new staff may be disadvantaged and less organised employees may become irritated by this system, it is difficult to argue with.
• A rota means that employees will be given holiday priority for the summer or next Christmas.
• A ballot system means that no employee is prioritised above the other however there’s no guarantee that staff will be treated fairly year to year due to the random outcome.
• Leaving it to the employees gives them the responsibility and control to decide who and when will take leave making sure there are enough staff over the break. However, this could of course end in arguments.
Make sure you communicate to employees the system you take on, and that your managers follow the process correctly and that it is clearly explained in contracts and policies.
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