Taking time out to use annual leave is a healthy thing to do: not only does it allow employees to rest and re-energise, it can also leave them feeling more motivated and work more effectively.
However, with the lockdown measures and quarantine uncertainties, it is important that employers do not allow staff to build up too much annual leave as not spreading out their holiday entitlement over the year can be a major problem operationally.
Depending on when your holiday year runs from, you are either approaching the end of 2020 or are halfway through your holiday year. As a business owner it is important to encourage your employees to take annual leave and reduce the amount of annual leave left at the end of the year.
So what practical steps could you consider?
- Subject to the nature of your business, consider closing the business over the Christmas and New Year period.
- Be proactive in the management of annual leave. Don’t leave it to the last minute before reviewing whether or not employees have taken most or all of their annual leave. Try sending regular reminders to employees outlining how much annual leave they have
- Remind staff of the value of taking the time to be “offline”. Staff may be reluctant to travel but they should take time to switch off from work tasks to enjoy other activities.
- Do you have a cloud HR system in place? Using automated processes can really help make the requesting and booking of annual leave easy. Throw away the excel spreadsheets and paper forms and speak with us if you want to find out how to use our cloud based HR system!
- As a final option, consider enforcing the utilisation of annual leave so that your staff use their holiday allowance. To do this, you will have to give sufficient notice to your staff. The notice period required, when enforcing annual leave, is double the amount of annual leave that you are requesting the employee to take.
For example if you want the employee to take 5 days’ annual leave, you must notify them of this at least 10 days before you want them to have booked this annual leave.
But a word of caution, employees may understandably be recalcitrant with this approach, so do explain the reasons “why” this has been introduced.