THREE holiday management issues you will face this summer, and how to solve them

By Tom Whiley | Absence | 3 min read

As the government lifts lockdown and travel restrictions, lots of people in the UK will be looking to take a very well-earned break.

This might present certain problems for HR departments across the country. So we’ve put this quick guide together to help you prepare for some of the holiday issues you might face this summer.

1. Holiday backlogs and bottlenecks

Lots of employees will have been unable to take any leave through the lockdown. You could get a holiday bottleneck, with more leave requests than you can reasonably accommodate.

The solution here is to be totally transparent with your leave booking policy. Remind people of your rules concerning notice requirements, and of the possible reasons why you might turn down leave.

You’ll also want to avoid a holiday backlog, where employees build up a lot of annual leave that they cannot take. You can solve this issue by allowing employees to carry over more leave than usual into the next holiday year. You could also set an absence management policy that requires all employees to book time off during your business’s quieter months.

You can read our complete guide to managing holiday backlogs and bottlenecks here.

2. Too many cancelled plans

Though the government’s easing restrictions, there’s still a lot of uncertainty. If an employee is forced to cancel their plans for whatever reason, they’re likely to cancel their annual leave too.

For HR, every cancelled leave request means restructuring the rota and recalculating the employee’s leave allowance. There’s also the risk that if the employee doesn’t take leave now, they never will.

Centralized absence management software can make a huge difference here, by automating all leave allocation calculations. You can also set triggers so that you’ll know well in advance if an employee’s at risk of building up too much of a leave backlog.

3. Enforced quarantine

Some employees might have to self-isolate for up to 10 days after returning to the UK.

This might make some employers reluctant to authorize annual leave for employees who intend to head abroad. But you shouldn’t turn down such leave requests. Employees might have a very good reason for wanting to leave the country. For example, they may wish to visit relatives they’ve not seen since lockdown began.

So instead, introduce a flexible working policy for any employees forced to self-isolate, allowing them to work remotely through their quarantine. And if this isn’t practical, talk to the employee about alternatives. They could use some of their holiday allowances for their self-isolation period, or even treat the quarantine as a one-off period of unpaid leave.

You’ve got this!

This has been a challenging year for everyone, and it’s unfortunate that our return to the old normal could spell trouble for HR departments.

But absence management is a fast and effective tonic for all HR headaches. Head here to read our guide on the top 5 Benefits of an Absence Management System.