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Webinar: Managing leave over the holiday season

12 December 2022 4 min read

Effectively managing leave during the holiday season

Our recent webinar, in partnership with People Management Insight, looked at how HR professionals and business leaders can effectively manage leave during the holiday season.

Managing leave during the holiday season webinar

In this webinar Philip Robinson, Data Scientist at edays, and Ruth Baker MCIPD, HR Business Partner at Phillips 66, discuss some of the issues businesses face in regards to holiday leave and how companies can avoid an end of year ‘rush’ as employees try to use up their remaining annual leave before the holiday season, carry it over to next year or instead receive payment for any unused leave. Ruth and Philip suggested ways in which HR teams can circumvent the affects of a build-up of leave at the end of the year, and offered some top tips for managing leave more effectively over the long term.

The discussion highlighted some interesting stats – with 60% of those responding to our polls saying that their company is usually short-staffed during December.

In addition, respondents said 50% of employees carry leave over into the new year. The COVID carryover has played a big part in this, as the government relaxed the rules on the number of days employees could carry over as they weren’t able or didn’t want to use it during the pandemic. The two-year timeframe for that relaxation is coming to an end this year, but people are still not using all of their annual leave before the year ends and will not be able to carry over as much as they could previously.

What are our key tips for effective leave management?

  • Getting a grasp of absence and leave within your teams is a key first step in being able to monitor who is using their annual leave, when and how often
  • If you have a digital absence management platform such as edays, take advantage of features such as creating and customising alerts and checkpoints throughout the year. For example, the summer months are a popular time for people to book leave, so you can check in August or September onwards to see the amount of leave people have used so far, and how much remains
  • Consider implementing non-standard leave years. Although this can be trickier to manage without a leave management system to help, you may wish to begin employees’ leave years from their start dates at the company. This will mean that not everyone’s leave entitlement falls from January – December, so not everyone is pressured to make use of their remaining holiday in December
  • Monitor absences, both planned and unplanned, and look at their patterns within your teams. This includes looking at the average length of leave that your people are taking (the national average is approximately 4 days at a time), how frequently they are taking leave, and sickness rates
  • If dealing with carrying over leave is causing a particular headache for your company, consider increasing the number of days an employee can shift into next year. This can have a compound effect the following year of course, as the employee will have more leave to take and still may not use it all, but as a short term solution to a problem which your company may be struggling with, it may be a helpful option

We also explore the following:

  • How leave debt can cost your business in more ways than just taxes
  • Planned leave management tips to improve employee wellbeing and reduce burnout
  • How HR can monitor leave taken through the year and encourage employees to use their full allowance
  • How planned leave can help with staff retention and boost employee morale
  • Use cases for not falling into the “leave debt” trap
  • The role technology can play in helping you to plan effectively

The webinar is available to watch on demand here.

Georgina at edays
December 12, 2022

Georgina Mackintosh is an accomplished copywriter and marketing professional with a background that spans several industries. Her writing focuses on HR topics such as employee wellbeing, engagement and experience - as well as absence management best practice, how-to guides and news from the HR sector.