As restrictions are starting to gradually ease over the next couple of months, it’s likely that many employees will be planning to take holidays during the summer months. We also have the Euros and the Olympics on this summer, and some of your employees may look to take some time off to watch these events.

You could also have a situation where employees want to watch the Euros and rather than use holidays, could report in sick. To avoid this, could you look to alter hours to allow your teams to watch the games, and where businesses are open as normal, such as manufacturing, could you show some of the key games and stop production temporarily, whilst still complying with Covid-19 measures? We know some businesses plan to do this for the first Scotland game which kicks off at 2pm on Monday 14 June 2021.

It’s not just an annual leave request traffic jam you need to avoid this summer, there are also many other constraints you need to consider and plan for. This includes, employees having to quarantining unexpectedly after traveling to other countries, cancelled holidays, and employees building up annual leave.

Here are some scenarios and HR holiday planning tips to consider ahead of summer:

Supporting Working Parents

Many employees also plan their holidays around summer due to the kids breaking off school. It is important to support your staff who have young children during the summer holiday period.

It can be beneficial to you as a manager to put flexible working in place during this time. You can identify if your staff can work at different times or locations. This can mean that they can do their work, and still take time to look after their children. You can put this in place well in advance to be more organised.

If staff with kids prefer to take holidays, encourage them to apply for holidays in advance. Normally, employers look at requests on a first come first serve basis. Why not consider offering priority to working parents? If you plan this in advance, everyone in the team won’t have any surprises.

Employee’s Having to Quarantine

One thing that we’ve learned this past year is that the pandemic is very unpredictable and new waves of cases can hit at any time. Furthermore, any countries currently on the green list can quickly make their way on to the amber or red list and this can happen while your employees are holidaying in these countries. If employees are traveling back from an amber or red listed country, they are expected to quarantine for at least 10 days. It’s important to make employees aware of this before they travel.

If you are faced with this dilemma, you can consider allowing employees to use their remaining holidays to cover this time. You can also encourage employees to work remotely if possible.

This continues to be a really unusual and uncertain time so it’s important that you accommodate employees as much as possible.

Cancelled Holidays

Employees can be faced with flights and holidays being cancelled due to changes in restrictions and they may want to cancel their annual leave.

As an employer, you do not have to agree to employees cancelling their annual leave unless this is stated in their contract. In addition, you can encourage them to take this time to relax and enjoy a break at home. However, if allowing employees to cancel their booked annual leave won’t affect your business, we encourage you to do so.

Build up of Annual Leave

We’ve spent a lot of the past year either in lockdown or living under strict restrictions. In addition, many people haven’t been able to leave home or enjoy a holiday of any kind. This has lead to many staff building up all their untaken annual leave.

It’s important you remind your employees of how many holidays they have left and encourage them to take as much as possible throughout the Summer or during times you know are quiet for the business.

This has been a very stressful time for everyone so it’s important you encourage employees to take a break and take time to focus on their wellbeing.

Breathe HR

If you’re looking for an easier and more efficient way to manage holiday entitlement, take a look at Breathe HR.

Breathe can also store all your correspondence around holidays and furlough, ensuring you have all this in the one place should you require this for audit purposes. Managing holiday requests has never been easier! This is due to the employee self-service calendar that allows employees to request leave easily.

We have been working with Breathe HR for a while and are now Breathe HR Gold Partners. If you would like to discuss this tool further, or would like a free 2-week trial, contact us now. You can also contact us for more support with your HR Holiday Planning.