4 Ways Small Businesses Can Manage Employee Holidays

Over the last few years, new events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become popular in the UK as employee holidays. From a business perspective, you need to make sure you can deal with holiday requests on these busy days. When you run a business, you don’t often have the luxury of having surplus employees tucked up your sleeve. You also need to keep an eye on those employees who don’t plan and don’t take their holidays.

1. Employee Holidays Start With Policies

Making sure you have a policy for holidays is the first and most forgotten step when dealing with employee holidays. Although employment laws dictate how many holidays an employee should have as a minimum, when they take it is up to you.

In your employee holidays policy, you can include things like:

  • how much notice an employee needs to give when taking a holiday
  • times when holiday can’t be taken due to busy business times
  • ways to buy extra holiday days
  • including public holidays as an inclusive part of your holiday allowance

2. A Consistent Process For Booking Employee Holidays

Most companies book holidays on a first-come, first-served basis, but that doesn’t always work. Ensuring you have a fair process for booking employee holidays is essential. Your policy should outline the process for booking off time, and its wording should make it crystal clear for all parties what is expected.

With many free HR Systems now available, there is no longer the need for written forms or notes. Everything can be taken care of with a few clicks on a smartphone or computer. HR systems like BreatheHR automatically tell you how many days an employee has left without you counting on your fingers and toes!

If your business must remain open for holidays such as Christmas and New Year, you should ensure there is a fair process for taking time off. It is a good idea to check to see who would actually like to work. You may be surprised to find some employees might not want to be at home over Christmas. If the majority of your staff want a specific date off, you could draw straws to decide who works and who gets next Christmas off.

3. There’s Always One!

You always get one employee that fails to realise that your company holiday year is coming to an end. Especially if it runs from January to December.

If you have a clear policy for booking employee holidays, it is always a good idea to remind your team. It’s best practice to document how many days holiday an employee has left and to let them know in advance with a quick email. In your Employee Holiday Policy, you may include the fact that you can give an employee notice to take their holiday. This won’t necessarily help in December, but if you keep an eye earlier on in the year, you can enforce this part of the policy.

Remember It is a common misconception that because an employee has failed to book holidays, then you have to pay them instead.

4. Budget

To manage your cash flow, it is always advisable to put aside the cost of holidays accrued by each employee. Then, when they come to take the holidays, it doesn’t make such a dent in your bank balance. Many employers do not let employees take holidays within their probationary period, which can help with new starters so you can build up a pot. But for long term employees, this does not help until they are settled in after a few months.

Remember, accrual is only used for cash flow purposes. If your policy states an employee can book up two weeks holiday at a time and hasn’t accrued that much, you can’t refuse them.

Maybe it is time to review your policy with my free HR Healtcheck. Why not make it an early Christmas present to yourself? If you have any questions about employee holidays, please don’t hesitate to contact me on [email protected]


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