Data from global HR software and employment law advice firm, BrightHR has revealed a surge in annual leave requests submitted from workers in England, following the Prime Minister’s latest announcement that restrictions will be eased further on the 17th of May, and international travel will reopen.
On Monday, BrightHR saw a five-fold increase in annual leave requests to their people management software compared to the previous year.
Alan Price, CEO of BrightHR, said, “BrightHR’s latest data suggests that the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday that restrictions will ease further on the 17th of May, as well as the confirmation international travel will reopen has had a significant impact on annual leave requests from workers across the country.
“However, with summer on the way and restrictions lifting, they do create a perfect storm for holiday clashes. And while most employers would rather not deny leave, they can’t manage their business if too many employees are off. To avoid any conflict, I would advise making sure their employee handbook covers any reasons why they might need to let someone down. For example, do they need a certain number of staff at any one time? Or do they need at least one employee from each role or department to stay at work? If so, they need to make sure their employee handbook explains this. That way, if they do need to deny a request due to being short-staffed, employees will know why they’ve made the decision.
Price added, “If multiple staff want to book the same holiday, employers, unfortunately, may need to disappoint someone. But instead of making a tough call, they could use a ‘first-come, first-served policy’. In other words, give automatic priority to whoever booked first. With a ‘first-come, first-served’ policy, staff won’t want to leave their holiday request until the last minute. And that’s great – because it means employers have more time to plan for future absences. It also means staff are less likely to be disappointed. Because by booking early, they’re more likely to be first in line and take priority. So, even if it’s months in advance, employers should encourage their staff to book as soon as they can.
“Miscommunication is the biggest driver behind annual leave conflict. It could be that employees didn’t realise they couldn’t be away simultaneously as their colleague. Or maybe the rules on providing enough notice weren’t clear. To prevent misunderstandings like these, employers need to make a policy and share it with their team.
“Ultimately, after a tough 12 months, employers should encourage staff to make the most of their annual leave as time off work can be hugely beneficial for employees to recuperate and avoid burnout. Therefore clear channels of communication must exist to ensure leave can be taken.”