Holiday Advice for Small Business Managers
Business owners planning for the peak holiday season can now use a ten-point checklist from Business Link to make sure they are fully prepared.
The list offers practical advice on how to avoid annual leave clashes and manage key staff absence. The advice includes keeping a holiday calendar that everyone can access and ensuring temporary replacements for key staff are properly trained.
Business Link adviser, Alexandra Shoobert, said:
“Many people want to take their time off during the summer months, but businesses cannot allow themselves to miss delivery deadlines or reduce customer service because of inadequate preparation and staff scheduling.
This can have a negative effect on your business, especially now when companies are working harder than ever with fewer staff. We’ve issued our holiday checklist to help managers prepare and make the best of their business whatever the season.”
Legislation launched in April of this year guaranteed that a worker’s statutory paid holiday entitlement increased to 28 days per year for an employee working a five-day week, which takes into account public holidays although there is no automatic entitlement to these days off.
A recent Aon survey found that up to 35% of employees were selling extra holiday above their statutory entitlement back to their employer.
The full Business Link ten point checklist is:
- Plan in advance. Make sure you have clear procedures and a calendar so people can check for clashes and keep a record of annual leave on a central system.
- Remind employees how much leave they have left. Have a process by which employees can be reminded how much time they have to take and by when.
- Monitor your busy months. There may be seasonal fluctuations in your workload. If so, you will want to discourage employees from taking holiday at your busiest times.
- Balance employees’ holidays. Make sure that employees know they can’t all take their leave at the same time. Key specialisms, as well as business areas, need to be covered.
- Consider employees’ circumstances. You may operate a first-come first-served basis, but also try to take account of the restraints on some employees – for example, those with children.
- Adapt your holiday ‘year’ for each employee. Some businesses run their annual leave year from the date that an employee starts. This can avoid the rush to book holidays at the end of the year.
- Encourage employees to take holiday. In the current economic climate, some may be reluctant to take leave due to worries about job security. It is a manager’s responsibility to encourage staff to use their holiday allowance, and to make sure working patterns allow them to.
- Decide whether employees can carry over holiday entitlement above the statutory minimum which should be taken. Agree a consistent policy on whether employees can carry annual leave over to the following year and if so, by how many days.
- Train temporary staff. If you need to hire temporary employees to cover for absence, give due consideration to training and induction.
- Use quiet times to benefit your business. Take the opportunity to do things that will help in the long term, such as reviewing your business plan or undertaking maintenance work.