Five Tips For Fair Holiday Approvals

There’s no denying that time off work is good. It benefits both company productivity and the balance sheet.

However, employers across the country seem lost when it comes to their responsibilities around providing leave. Indeed, one in four employers find entitlements, such as leave, as a murky territory. Plus, knowing your legal obligations only indicates ‘what’ type of leave you must provide but doesn’t specify ‘when’ and how often.

It can become a tricky situation for managers during peak holiday times such as school holidays. You could find yourself trying to manage conflicting priorities — making sure work gets completed while being fair to all.

So, what’s the secret to maintaining fairness when it comes to holiday approval? Here are our top four tips:

Agree on blackout dates

Depending on the size and nature of your business, busy and slow periods will vary. It’s good practice to set-out, perhaps at the start of the calendar year, any blackout dates for taking leave. To keep the balance, also communicate any off-peak periods when you can encourage people to take time off.

Discuss leave plans in advance

Granted, you can’t dictate when your people should take leave. At the very least let them know you are open to discussing a strategy. If they indicate when they’d like to take time off in advance, you can both plan what you need to have in place to cover the work while the employee is away.

Be flexible during peak times

During school holidays it can be challenging if a few team members will be away at the same time. It’s good to be open to different options here. Could you allow working from home arrangements if employees don’t really need outright leave? Could dates be split up so as not to have too many overlapping days of absences? Or will you need to look at other options like hiring a temp to help out for that period?

Consider employee’s leave reasons

Without prying on personal details, it’s good to know the main reasons people take leave. Often it’s mainly to have a break and recharge but sometimes taking too much time off can indicate a more severe wellbeing issue hidden from the surface. If you sense that time off might not be enough to solve the problem, offer access to confidential help. WorkScore, for instance, offers MindHub, which provides confidential counselling 24/7, self-help tools and useful articles for coping with stressful life events.

Managing leave need not be daunting. With a clear map of blackout dates, plans in place for managing absences, flexibility and thoughtful consideration you’ll be able to handle peak leave periods with fairness and care.