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Let’s do a Holiday Audit!


Annual leave is something most of us look forward to, it’s the time throughout the year where we can take a break from work whether it is used to relax at home, go on holiday or celebrate a special occasional or seasonal holiday. 

However, as employers, it may be filling you with less excitement if your employees have yet to book their annual leave as we approach the end of the year. 

Effectively managing annual leave can bring an array of challenges for any sized organisation as ensuring your organisation has the right amount of cover and employee engagement is maintained is crucial.

It is your responsibility as an employer to make sure your employees are taking their holiday and understand how important it is for them to have this well-earned break regardless of if they spend it. 

Do employees have to take a holiday?

No, you can’t force people to take holiday, but it is your responsibility to ensure they are aware that they need to take their statutory minimum holiday. 

The Working Time Regulations were put in place to ensure that the health of your workforce is  cared for, so if it looks like employees are likely to have annual leave allowance left over at the end of the holiday year, you really should be encouraging them to take it –  a proven way to make sure this is taken is through the ‘take it or lose it’ policy, as most employees are likely to take the paid leave rather than lose it completely. 

Being a good employer

The main recommendation that we suggest is communication is key!

For a smooth and easy holiday management process, we suggest that you communicate with your employees the business needs over this time, the expectations of your staff and any mandatory days that must be booked off e.g., Christmas shut down

Any ambiguity around annual leave can impact productivity, motivation and engagement of your staff, to help you avoid this at all costs, we have some tips to help you. 

Tips to take the stress out of annual leave 

Good internal communication, easily accessible absence management software and well-written employment contracts are the three things that will make managing annual leave less challenging, but there are a few more tips we recommend: 

  1. Be proactive in auditing the leave that your staff are taking and ensure that leave requests are well organised throughout the year, this can help to reduce employee burnout, stress and sickness.
  2. Encourage your staff to request annual leave in advance as much as possible. Understandably, sometimes this can be difficult, but making holidays and leave requests a common topic of conversation will mean that your staff never forget they need to make these requests. 
  3. Regular reviews are recommended to see how much annual leave your staff have taken or not taken throughout the year. You do not want to get to the beginning of December and realise that people have not taken their holiday or perhaps have taken too much. 

Do you know how many employers pay too much holiday pay because they lose track of the time people have booked off?
More than you’d like to imagine. Let’s make sure that’s not you. 

The best way to do this is to use an absence management system. HR:4UK’s Absence Management System provides a simple solution for businesses to effectively plan and manage employee absence. Accessed via eConnect, the cloud-based system is entirely paperless, removing the need for charts, wall planners and holiday request books.

Not managing holidays could leave your organisation under-staffed and morale low as employees try to use their accrued but not yet taken holiday at the last minute, but by managing absence through eConnect’s absence management system, you’ll be able to keep a closer eye on the amount of leave still owed.

So, if you’re looking to take the strain out of your holiday absence management process, talk to us today on 01455 444222 or email.

Angela Clay

A qualified employment law solicitor and our managing director, Angela has unparalleled legal expertise and decades of experience and knowledge to draw from. She’s a passionate speaker and writer that loves to keep employers updated with upcoming changes to legislation, and is a regular guest speaker on BBC Leicester Radio.