7 tips for managing annual leave – In a nutshell

Published on 24th July 2016

7 tips for managing annual leave – In a nutshell, expert advice from Jacqui Cousins – Belvedere HR

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Many clients that I speak to ask me about how they can better manage annual leave.

Whilst this would appear to be a simple task, there are some legal requirements that need to be taken into account.
And holiday is so important to get right for your employees.

Start by calculating the entitlement for each of your staff.
Under the working time regulations, workers are entitled to five point six weeks of paid annual leave per year.
This amounts to twenty eight days for a five day a week worker.
This entitlement should be proportioned for part time, casual and fixed term workers.

Ensure individuals know how to request holidays and how their requests will be treated.
Whilst aiming to be as flexible as possible, there will be times when you will need to decline a request.
This is never popular and you will need to follow a fair process such as first come first served.

You will also need to give notice if you decline the request.
This must be at least the same length of time as the period of holiday that’s been requested.

Keep accurate records of leave dates for each team member as the requests are authorised.
A simple spreadsheet should do the trick.
Then you will know how much entitlement each individual has at any point during the year.

Case law has established that employees accrue holiday even during a period of sickness absence.
Staff have the right to reschedule this holiday once they are well again.
You will need to establish if there are any conditions that apply to this rescheduling such as providing a doctor’s certificate.

Have a clear procedure for dealing with unauthorised leave.
You may decide not to pay it, or to invoke the disciplinary procedure. Or both.

When someone leaves your business you will need to calculate their holiday balance.
The amount of holiday accrued will depend on the proportion of the leave year that’s been worked.
Any remaining entitlement should be added to the last payment or, any taken in excess
should be deducted.

And lastly, a clearly worded policy document that is shared with your staff will help to prevent any confusion in managing annual leave.

This could be incorporated into your staff handbook along with other important employment policies.

Jacqui Cousins
Belvedere HR
01392 668 659
[email protected]


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