Managing Staff Through the Summer Holidays, HR Dept Guest Blog


Managing Staff Through the Summer Holidays: A Q&A with the HR Dept South East London and North Kent

After enjoying a rare few days of warm sunshine last week, we are all looking forward to more warm days ahead during the summer holidays! Of course, while  dreaming of relaxing with a cold drink on a hot beach, we also have to consider how to manage annual leave during this busy period.

To help you navigate this crunch time when many employees are vying for vacation slots, we’ve teamed up with the HR Dept SELNK who have shared some of their best tips. Here’s a Q&A session we had with their HR Manager, Danny Shaw, to guide you through managing your staff during the summer holidays.

Q: What is the first step in managing annual leave during the summer holidays?

Danny at the HR Dept:

"The most basic and crucial step is ensuring you have a clear and comprehensive annual leave policy. This policy should be documented and easily accessible. While statutory rules must be followed regardless, your specific policy will guide you and your staff on how annual leave operates within your business."

Q: How should annual leave be prioritised according to this policy?

Danny at the HR Dept:

"A common approach is the "first come, first served" method, which is generally considered fair. However, there are other methods like a rota system. Your policy might also outline minimum staffing requirements or specific busy periods when leave cannot be taken. Alternatively, it might include a company-wide shutdown where everyone is required to take leave."

Q: How can HR software assist in managing annual leave?

Danny at the HR Dept:  

"HR software is a valuable tool for managing annual leave efficiently. It tracks all leave requests, allows employees to self-serve their requests, and provides an easy way for managers to approve or decline them. Beyond leave management, HR software can simplify many other administrative tasks, making it a worthwhile investment for a low monthly cost. We offer demos for those interested in seeing it in action."

Q: What other types of leave should be considered during the summer?

Danny at the HR Dept:

"School holidays significantly influence leave requests, especially for working parents. If annual leave runs out, Unpaid Parental Leave is an option. Parents (of children under 18 years) are entitled to up to four weeks per year, taken in whole week blocks, and can qualify after one year of employment. For those with other caregiving responsibilities, Carer’s Leave is available, allowing up to a week per year as unpaid leave, which can be taken in smaller increments."
"It's important to note that Dependents' Leave is not suitable for planned summer holidays as it's intended for unforeseen circumstances. Instead, consider creating term-time-only flexible roles for a long-term solution."

Q: How can businesses ensure they are adequately staffed during peak holiday seasons?

Danny at the HR Dept:

"One strategy is to maintain a reserve of experienced staff who can step in when needed. This can be achieved through partnerships with temping agencies, utilising suppliers' additional resources, or even engaging retired employees who are willing to work occasionally."

Q: What is the key to a fair annual leave policy?

Danny at the HR Dept:

"The key is balancing fairness for all staff, regardless of whether they have children, with the needs of the business. Everyone needs a break, and those left behind to keep operations running smoothly should also be considered. If you need assistance in implementing or refining any of these policies, the HR Dept is here to help."

Further Support from the HR Dept SELNK

For any further questions or support in managing your annual leave policies, please get in touch directly with Danny at the HR Dept SELNK. They are there to ensure a smooth and enjoyable summer for you and your team.

With thanks to Danny Shaw at the HR Dept South East London and North Kent for taking the time to answer our questions and contribute to this guest blog. If you would like to speak to Danny directly, he has been kind enough to share his email here at Blue Rocket Accounting;

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